2018 QLD Premier Rugby Review: Wests

The 2018 season started with some promise for Wests but three straight close losses saw their year drag on and let’s be honest it was pretty tough going for a club more used to winning than coming second.

They finished eight, one up from b bottom placed Sunnybank but there was some upside to their year and their play off unstructured ball gave them points.

But that’s not going to see you win consistently in the QLD Premier Rugby competition and there is much work to do.

Here is what coach Patrick Byron thought of their 2018 season:

With hindsight, how do you look back on the season? 
With frustration, and disappointment. It was disappointing not to kick on after making some big improvements in 2017. At the start of the year, we genuinely thought we were in a good place, however after a couple of close loses, and losing players overseas to pursue their rugby careers, plus some injuries to key players, the team that we were building, changed significantly. I thought we played some great rugby during the year, however it was quite inconsistent, and that really hurt us.

You started the season well, what can you put that down to? 
We started the year well with a good win, however we then backed that up with three bonus point losses in a row.  That I think really affected the confidence of the team, and had we won one or two of those games, I think we would have built some really good momentum. It’s hard to put it down to anything really, but not being able to pick the same team week-in, week-out definitely affected our combinations and then consistency in how we played.
Was there a match or two that defined your season? 
Probably as above. Losing three games on the bounce by only a couple of points to Sunnybank, Norths then Souths was a momentum killer at the front end of the year.

What did you do well this year?
Our unstructured play was once again quite good, and we scored the majority of tries from this type of ball.

What didn’t you do well this year? 
Once again set piece. Our scrum and lineout struggled, which means we didn’t attack a lot from first phase ball, and also meant we spent a lot of time defending.

Overall, how did the club fare this season in all grades etc? 
It was a mixed bag.  Colts One and Second Grade did very well making the Finals, but unfortunately weren’t able to make an impact once they got there.

Standout players:
Liam Dillon (scrumhalf) once again had an excellent season, and was I believe very unlucky to be overlooked from representative Rugby. Our No. 8 Dillon Wihongi also had a great year.

Which non contracted player deserves to play at a higher level? 
Liam Dillon definitely.

What does your club need to do between now and round one next year? 
Big focus is going to be on set piece and defence.

Bold prediction for 2019:
Probably not bold but it’s going to be another really close season across all the clubs, where on their day anyone can beat anyone. GPS and Uni of Queensland will once again be hard to beat, and will be the two teams everyone is chasing.

Played: 16
Won: 4
Drawn: 0
Lost: 12
Bonus points: 7 (third)
Points differential: -113 (seventh)
Finished: Eighth

Image: Brendan Hertel / QRU MEDIA

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