Club: North Sydney Bears
Record: 2-22 (-430)
Players Used in 2014: 49
Season Highlight: Sitting in 2nd spot on the ladder after round one
Season Lowlight: Defensive record late in matches
Summary: After a comprehensive 34-6 win over the Roos way back in round one, the Bears would have been forgiven for thinking that 2014 might have been a good season for them… but unfortunately for the red and blacks, this win would only be followed by one more over the concluding 25 rounds.
In a season that they would soon rather just forget, North Sydney claimed the wooden spoon and finished a clear last however they did manage to give a number of South Sydney players time on the park and helped to play a role in the club claiming their first Premiership in some 43 years.
Kirisome Auva’a, Tom Burgess, Jason Clark, Lote Tuqiri, Luke Keary, Apisai Koroisau and Alex Johnston all found themselves playing for the Bears at some stage throughout the 2014 season and then were ultimately rewarded with a Premiership ring just a few weeks ago.
But despite having the above talent at their disposal, albeit sparingly for the most part, the Bears just didn’t have the guns to match it with most sides on a consistent basis this year. The Bears attempted to compensate for this lack of top notch talent but playing with plenty of heart, and no one can doubt this, with North Sydney often very competitive for 50-60 minutes of games before being run over late in the piece.
Injuries and suspensions often meant that Wayne Lambkin had to call upon players from the Bears Ron Massey Cup affiliates in the Asquith Magpies and Burwood North Ryde United, and once again, these players put their best foot forward but perhaps just lacked the polish required to excel consistently in the top second tier competition.
Kurt Aldridge, Matt Hyland, Chris Grevsmuhl, Duncan Low, Brad Lupi, Curtis Johnston and Jesse Roberts were all consistent performers for the Bears and can certainly carry their heads high into the off-season.
Clearly the 2015 season should see the Bears improve but once again their fate looks aligned to just how much talent they get back from South Sydney on any given weekend, unless the club looks to open up the wallet and try to bring some talent to the club on their own dime.
Conclusion: Despite perhaps being the victim of circumstances we couldn’t give the Bears a pass mark on what has been a season that the club will want to put behind them very quickly.