2018 QLD Premier Rugby Review: Easts
Easts got a fleeting taste of finals footy in 2018 after finishing in third spot at the end of the home and away rounds of QLD Premier Rugby.
But after squeaking past Souths in the knockout semi-final they really hit a wall against GPS in the grand final qualifier and went down 52-14.
GPS was their bogey team in 2018 in what overall was a very good year.
Here’s what head coach Anthony Connellan thought of their season just past:
With hindsight, how do you look back on the season?
I was happy with the 2018 season. The previous two years, 2016 and 2017 were rebuilding years at the Tigers, we had a number of very young, inexperienced players who have put their hands up to be the future of the club and along with a couple of good recruits for the 2018 season they developed into a semi-final team capable of going a step further next year.
You started the season well, what can you put that down to?
I think we started the season relatively well, and that was a combination of an effective pre-season with particular focus on our strength and condition ing (we had our lowest injury rate for a number of years) and a desire to force our way into the top four.
Was there a match or two that defined your season?
Maybe not a match more so a team. GPS were extremely dominant over us in all three games, very strong set piece, physicality and speed of recycle worried us.
What did you do well this year?
If you look at the stats the only areas we were top four were lineout and tries scored, so I think belief in each other and team culture was a big contributor this year. We were a team that when held the ball for five or more phases were able to score a lot of points. Our Attack Coach Sione Fukofuka has been with the club for three years now and that continuity has made a big difference. The lineout fared well and we scored a number maul tries.
What didn’t you do well this year?
I think our dominance in ball carry and tackle are areas we weren’t good enough to match the likes of GPS.
Overall, how did the club fare this season in all grades etc?
Overall the club had an extremely successful year – Premier, Reserves, Thirds and the Sixth Grade all made the playoiffs.
Braden Schiiler (Prop), Phoenix Hunt (scrumhalf) and Jack Frampton (flyhalf) were all excellent
Which non contracted player deserves to play at a higher level?
The above three. Not next year but certainly in the future.
What does your club need to do between now and round one next year?
Keep working hard on their physical capabilities, size and power will be a target. Our skills have improved greatly over the last two seasons so that again will be a focus.
Bold prediction for 2019:
I won’t be there, but I think they can finish top four and be right in the mix come finals.
THE 2018 SEASON IN STATS
Bonus points: 6 (equal fourth)
Points differential: +79 (Fourth)