Season Summary: Mounties had an outstanding season capturing the minor premiership but didn’t finish the year as they desired. Without a doubt the best side of the regular season, Mounties set the benchmark with their incredible attack – averaging almost 30 points a game. They exploded into the season without a loss until round eight, before hitting a flat-patch in the middle of the year. At the back-end of the year they regained form, before demolishing the Warriors in the opening week of the semi-finals, and then narrowly missing out on a Grand Final appearance by four-points to the Knights.
Coach Steve Antonelli says: “I’m pretty happy, not a good end result, but pretty happy.”
Best Game: While there were 15 winning matches for Antonelli to pick as Mounties’ best game, he simply could not go past the 43-10 defeat of the Warriors in week one of the semi-finals. While scoring 43-points is an outstanding effort, it was the defensive aspect that pleased Antonelli the most, especially against an expansive Warriors outfit.
Worst Game: While it certainly was not their worst performance of the year, the 30-26 loss to the Newcastle Knights in the Preliminary Final is certainly their most disappointing. Not just because they were eliminated, it was the fashion that they were eliminated in that would leave the players with a bitter feeling. Two intercept tries conceded, a runaway try on the stroke of halftime, as well as five missed conversions was the reality for Mounties that day, but they will come back bigger and better in 2016.
Standout Performers: The side that wins the minor premiership always has more than one standout performer, which is why Antonelli listed a host of players that really stood up in 2015. Included were VB NSW Cup Player of the Year Mitch Barnett, as well as Mark Nicholls, Glen Buttriss and Josh McCrone.
Destined for the NRL: Mitch Barnett was named VB NSW Cup player of the year, and was also rewarded with two games for the Canberra Raiders at the back-end of the season. The hard-working back-rower broke 58 tackles this season in his 188 runs, and proved in season 2015 that he will be a star in the NRL very soon.
Future Focus: Mounties finished fifth in season 2014 and were eliminated in the first week of the finals, which means they significantly improved in the space of 12 months. If they can keep the same attacking structures and work on defence and consistency, they are will be a major force in the 2016 premiership race.
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