As we enter the final round of the regular season I cannot help but think about how much has changed in our club over the last year. While I, like everyone else, want us to keep moving forward and to strive to be much better, it is an opportune time for us fans to reflect and be proud of our club.
How brilliant to reach this time of the season and have so much to look forward to!
It was difficult to go to our home games and it was difficult to stay until the end. It was difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward one year and I am sure we all feel differently about our games.
Of course the opening game at BankWest was truly amazing but there have been many other memorable moments.
For me the stand out moment at BankWest this year was our away game against the Tigers. It was an exciting game to watch and it was wonderful to see the Blue and Gold army remind everyone that this stadium is our home, our true spiritual home.
I hope in a couple of weeks time I can change my view and put another game in as my most memorable; our home final. I cannot wait until our first home final at BankWest. It will be amazing.
Last Friday we saw something in our team that was sadly lacking last year; resilience and the ability to stay in the fight.
Though there have been a few games earlier this year when our team has not fought as we would have wished, we have begun to show the ability to respond and hold our composure.
Often these games have coincided with playing at home, such as the games against the Dragons, Knights, Warriors and Tigers. In all these games we held our nerve when we had to come from behind.
Last Friday we did well to get back into the game but we lacked the little bit of polish to finish it off. So while it is fair to point out the flaws and we must if we want to get better, we also must also concede that we are developing and becoming more reliable and resilient.
We heard all off season about us becoming a development club and running a more professional approach to retention and recruitment. If you look back at our game last Friday we certainly can see the benefits of good development and recruitment.
Sivo, Paulo, Blake, Ferguson and Lane have all added wonderfully to our team. Couple that with some faith being shown in two young spine players as well as the emergence of Marata Niukore, and you can justifiably feel some confidence about our ability to identify the right type of player we need.
While there is always debate about young players being given a go in first grade (and in truth I have called for some young players on our bench), when you look back at the changes to our squad from the start of 2018 I cannot help but feel confident.
There has been very little movement in the player market this year and I suspect that rugby league has changed. I expect much more player movement in the coming off season and I have confidence that we have the right people and processes in place to get who we need and at the right price to help us get stronger.
The club, coaches and players have done their bit to help us rebound and while the fans have been wonderful all year, we have to be even better.
It’s a long hike for my family to travel to Sydney for games, and the 6pm start this week is almost impossible for us to get to – but try we will. If the Sydney traffic is kind to us we will just make kick off.
I expect to see the stands packed, the flags waving and the voices warming up. What better way for the team and fans in the stands to prepare for our next home game, our first finals game at BankWest, than to welcome those Silvertails to our home.
Over to you Parra fans and I look forward to cheering with you all in the stands over the next two weeks.