Photo by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com
After the first four weeks of play, you will see Brendan Wong of the Vancouver Nighthawks atop the the Major League Ultimate statistics table. This is in spite of the fact that the Nighthawks have played only three games so far, while all the rest of the teams in the league save one have played four or five.
Wong may be an MLU rookie, but he is certainly not inexperienced at Ultimate. He’s been playing since 1998, and has starred for the University of British Columbia and for Vancouver’s top club team Furious George, including winning a gold medal at the WFDF World Championships in 2008 right in Thunderbird Stadium, home of the Nighthawks.
So how does he do it? I asked two of his O-line handlers, Kirk Savage and Keane Knapp. They mentioned other points as well, like his intelligence, his experience, and his humble personality, but here are five of Wong’s attributes you can see from the sidelines
To see the examples, cue up this video:[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/7SqZUokvEAk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
He Never Gives Up on the Disc
“I keep my head up and try not to give up on plays or give up on the disc even when they’re not thrown to me,” says Wong. “You never know what will happen!”
“There were a couple times in the San Francisco game when the disc was thrown to someone else, but I caught it for a goal. Early in the game there was one where Mark Leduc was the target, but the wind puffed it up over him and his defender and the disc ended up in my hands because I didn’t just assume the play was going to be completed.”
See point number two at the four-second mark.
His Physical Abilities
He is very fast, jumps well, has excellent eye-hand coordination, and is extremely fit.
“Brendo is a dream receiver, in that his athleticism allows you a higher margin of error on your throws,” says Knapp.
See point number three at the 12-second mark of the video.
He Creates Confidence in his Handlers
“His teammates know that he is a great player and we have faith in him to get the job done,” says Savage. “This means that when we see him cutting, we have no qualms about getting him the disc.”
See point number six at the 48-second mark.
He Knows How to Set Up a Cut
“He times his cuts well so that he is cutting in flow,” according to Savage.
“Brendo doesn’t win his match-ups by athleticism alone,” says Knapp. “He puts in the hard work, setting up his cut and getting his defender on his heels to create the separation that our O-line handlers love to see.”
See point number seven at the 1:03 mark for an example of two quick cuts in a confined area that create the goal.
He Has Excellent Throws
Since he doesn’t make every catch in the end zone for a goal, Wong has to be able to throw the disc to his teammates with confidence.
See point number eight at the 1:08 mark.
Brendan Wong and his Nighthawks teammates return to action this weekend with a home game against the Seattle Rainmakers at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium on Saturday, May 10 at 7 p.m..