ROBB College has endured a couple of close losses to college rivals St Albert’s this season but Saturday’s will be the one that hurts the most.
It was the one that denied them the grand final berth they had been craving and were on the verge of.
Their disappointment was magnified by the fact that there was only a point in it, with Albies getting up 24-23.
They had made it a one-point game with only a few minutes remaining but, unlike two years ago, they weren’t able to muster the try to steal it at the death.
“We made a few little mistakes and they capitalised and we weren’t able to capitalise on a couple of their mistakes,” Robb coach Gordon Williams said.
In finals footy that’s what it can come down to.
They had the better of the first half and were up by two at the break but were on the back foot for a lot of the second half, with Albies coming back at them to lead by eight with only minutes remaining.
“The second half we didn’t play with quite as much composure or structure as we would have liked,” Williams said.
Or have throughout the season.
Williams felt it was a combination of a couple of things.
As well as the mistakes there were a couple of times after having dominance in one or two defensive scrums, on their feed Albies turned it.
They were also caught out a couple of times in defence in the midfield.
“They had a new 9, 10, 12 combination,” Williams said.
“We felt last game that was where we had a little bit of dominance over them but they played pretty well and a couple of times opened us up in the midfield and put us on the back foot.”
Still, it was one of Robb’s best seasons for a couple of years, finishing second after the rounds.
“All in all, it’s been a really competitive season,” Williams said.
He said they had been a joy to coach.
“As a team they have been the most outstanding team I have ever coached in terms of their attitude,” he said.
Albies will now face UNE Barbarians in the decider – a position that looked unlikely they’d be in a month ago.
“The boys are clicking along pretty well. There’s a lot of confidence and belief,” coach Greg Wood said.
“It’s amazing how they’ve been able to turn that around.
“We certainly weren’t equipped to go into finals, let alone a grand final six weeks ago.”
On Saturday they showed they are.