Buccaneers perfect season spoiled by hungry Cossacks
RUGBY UNION: With just one game left in an undefeated regular season, all the Yamba Buccaneers had to do was win.
The Iluka Cossacks were out to spoil the party and they did just that, with a 26-24 triumph over the minor premiers at Yamba Oval on Saturday.
But club coach Leigh Bushell said it was "exactly what they needed”, with complacency creeping into the side at the wrong time.
"That was a word I tried to use to avoid complacency within the squad, there was no reason for us to have had a slow start because we were well prepared but that's how it went,” he said.
"Most of the squad wanted an undefeated tag by their name at the end but Iluka wanted it more with their finals spot on the line and they were the better team on the day.”
The Buccaneers had a slow start to the contest, with the Cossacks scoring two early tries, but Bushell's side fought back and had their chance to win it with a 40m kick in the last minute but it wasn't meant to be.
"It just goes to show that even with a slow start we were still in the contest,” he said.
"There are lots of positives to take from that game.”
Yamba will have a week off in the first week of finals before their major semi-final against the Evans Head Killer Wales for the first spot in the grand final.
"I have no doubt that our boys will train harder and have a lot more fire in their belly after that loss because there were a lot of disappointed faces after that game,” he said.
"We'll prepare for Evans Head now, we'll prepare as well as we can to go into the game ready to go and ready to book our spot in the final.”
Bushell referred to an old saying as he looked to steer his side to a deserved win at the end of a long and hard season in the Presidents Cup.
"You can play in a few premierships in your playing career but it's pretty rare to win them so we just need to keep pressing forward and play some good footy at the end of the day,” he said.