After his side narrowly missed out on the top eight, Ryan Carr looked back on his first year as NYC head coach with plenty of pride.
Having lost eight of their first 10 matches, the young Rabbitohs went on a late season surge, winning 10 of their last 14 matches to see themselves in the running to make the finals, only to fall short due to some unfortunate results going against them.
Carr explained that while it wasn’t the result they were after, the squad as a whole had learnt plenty of lessons for the future.
“It was a weird season. The start probably wasn’t how we would have planned it but the end, but the finish was certainly a highlight for us, it was pretty heartbreaking finishing how we did,” Carr said.
“Results went against us in the last round when we were sitting in the top 8 and we were desperate to get a crack up there. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be but that’s football and we have to live with that.
“I suppose that’s a product of putting our fate in another team’s hands. We learnt a few key lessons this year but as a whole I’m really proud of the boys and couldn’t be happier with the season that we had.”
While the team was continually chopped and changed throughout the season, particularly with a number of SG Ball players progressing through the grades and some injuries affecting the team, Carr refused to use the changes as an excuse for results.
“I wouldn’t say it affected our performance, I don’t want to use excuses because I’m not a big believer in that. It’s our accountability to do our job and whoever is on the field. I had faith in the seventeen players that took the field each week no matter who that was, they were all part of the squad and all had a big role to play.
“I think injuries certainly caused a bit of instability in the team, and we couldn’t seem to get all the same players on the field each week, so in that regard it wasn’t great for us but the resilience and the learnings we made through getting through that tough period will be great for those young guys moving forward.”
One thing Carr was particularly pleased with was the personal progression of his players, with the likes of Campbell Graham and Adam Doueihi both moving up to play with the North Sydney Bears in the Intrust Super Cup, with Graham eventually debuting for the NRL side late in the year.
“For me as a coach it was unreal. That’s what we do the role for, a lot of people sit back and say ‘You must have been disappointed to lose your boys’, which you’re looking from a personal point of view, it’s being selfish, but you’ve just got to look at the career of the boys and where they’re going, and to see Campbell debut is a great reflection on the whole squad and himself.
“The same goes for Adam Doueihi and the other guys who got a crack at higher levels, it was a reflection on everyone and their teammates and themselves and all the hard work and their performance on and off the field, so it was great.”