2018 QLD Premier Rugby Review: GPS

GPS broke through for the first premiership since 1996 but it wasn’t until the finals were weeks away that the belief in the playing group surfaced.

Head coach Anthony Mathison said a heavy defeat to 2018 season front runner Uni of Queensland (54-17) a couple of weeks out from the playoffs got his team in the right mindset to win a grand final.

They did have a setback in the major semi final against UQ but flexed their muscles against Easts in the preliminary final before their 23-16 win in the big one.

Here’s what coach Mathison had to say about their 2018 season:

With hindsight, how do you look back on the season? 
To win the club’s first premiership since 1996 was a fantastic achievement and a fitting reward for the hard work and commitment that everyone involved with our First Grade team this year displayed.

You started the season well, what can you put that down to? 
We started the season with a couple of wins on the back of a challenging pre-season but struggled to find consistency with how we closed out matches. Fortunately, we built momentum as the season progressed, and I feel as though we evolved our game throughout the season.

Was there a match or two that defined your season? 
We played the other Top Four teams in the three weeks leading into the Finals Series and had confidence building wins against Souths and Easts. The biggest turning point for our season was our significant loss to Uni of Queensland two weeks before the Finals where we were comprehensively beaten 54-17. This served as a wake-up call for our group and highlighted the areas that we needed to improve in to be successful.

What did you do well this year?
We evolved our attacking game quite well and developed the ability to challenge opposition defences in a variety of ways. That gave us great confidence that we could always find a way to score points depending on the strengths/weaknesses of our opposition.

What didn’t you do well this year? 
It took us the majority of the season to close out games effectively. This was mainly due to us needing to improve our understanding of how to best manage certain scenarios that we found ourselves in during matches.

Overall, how did the club fare this season in all grades etc? 
All of our Senior Grades contested the finals this year so there is healthy depth throughout the club at the moment.

Standout players:
Mitch King, Matt Gicquel, Tom Kibble, James Tuttle, Michael Richards

Which non contracted player deserves to play at a higher level? 
Matt Gicquel

What does your club need to do between now and round one next year? 
With a new coaching group in place it will be important for the players to embrace some fresh ideas to start the year well. The club cannot afford to be complacent on the back of the success in 2018.

Bold prediction for 2019:
GPS to defeat UQ in the grand final.

Played: 16
Won: 11
Drawn: 0
Lost: 5
Bonus points: 8 (second)
Points differential: +135 (second)
Finished: Second
Finals in 2018: L 24-21 v Uni of Queensland (major semi), W v Easts 52-14 (preliminary final), W 23-16 v Uni of Queensland (grand final)

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