AFTER an unpredictable season the Mareeba Bulls men’s premier division team found themselves playing in the seasons show piece, the grand final on Saturday night, October 31.
Reaching the grand final was an achievement in itself with the majority of the team never having played in such a pressure cooker situation at the highest local level.
The young Bulls should take the heavy loss in their stride and with guidance should make them stronger in character and use the experience of such a loss to strive to become better players.
With all that said and done you can take nothing away from Edge Hill United who won the grand final 7-0 against the Bulls.
All of the Hill lads have never been in a team who have never dropped any points all season with a 100% record, only conceding five goals, three of which were penalties, scoring 16 goals in the finals and with none scored against them.
They are an exceptional squad and should easily account for their counterparts from Townsville in the Crad Evans finals this weekend capping off a record breaking season.
After the match Edge Hill captain Josh De Nittis was over the moon with the 2020 season and grand final win.
“The boys turned up again and when you do that the results happen, this happens once in a lifetime we will savour the moment and have a few drinks tonight,” he said.
“We may struggle to keep some of these players together for next year with the younger players possibly trying their luck in a higher league but we have great depth and we should be competitive again.”
A subdued Bulls captain Ben Stabile said, “It was a big lesson for us and the younger boys to not give up and work right till the end, we had a good 10-15 minutes at the start of the game but didn’t put our chances away and once they scored the first goal our boys put their heads down and we had to chase the game and in the end we ran out of steam,” he said.
“It’s a huge learning curve for them and us as a team, it should make us hungrier for next time but credit to Edge Hill they played an exceptional game.”
Bulls Coach, Ang Tatti while disappointed with the score heaped praise on his players for simply making the final.
“We knew it was a huge ask, we played well for the first period but you have to play for the full 90 minutes, against teams like this you can’t switch off , you need to keep up the intensity, be on your game, keep moving constantly,” he said.
“The moment you lapse you go into the dressing room four nil down and it’s difficult to pick yourself up from that situation.
“Edge Hill was much faster, got to the ball quicker, were better off the second ball and had better movement.
“They’re an exceptional side, that’s why they haven’t lost all season, our young boys can use this as a lesson in how it should be done – they’re young and will have other opportunities to play in finals.”
When asked if he will coach the Bulls again next year Tatti said he would love to if given the chance.
“If they give me the job I would love to, I really enjoy coaching these boys and I know we will be better for the experience next year,” he said.
In other matches featuring the Bulls, the men’s premiership winning Premier Reserves didn’t turn up when it mattered, losing their grand final 2-1 against the Stratford Dolphins.
One can’t help but feel there was complacency within the squad having beaten the Dolphins 5-0 on two previous occasions.
The Bulls did have their chances and missed not one but two penalties and were always playing catch-up to a Stratford side that did their homework
on the Bulls.
Dennis Allen’s side will have to pick themselves up from the loss if they are to take home the Crad Evans Shield in Townsville this weekend.
The men’s Second Division had a torrid time on Friday Night in their match against Marlin Coast Rangers the team didn’t play to expectations and were well defeated 4-1 in the grand final.