Fourth place at nationals would be a massive achievement for 90% of the teams in the UK. But for us we walked away feeling like we’d missed an opportunity that we’d messed it up. There’s lots of reason that you can put forward as to why it didn’t happen for us and a lot more than I will talk about here.
Going into the weekend we felt like we were the best there was and thought that we might have some tough games but we would come through them. On reflection I think we were right and wrong at the same time. We definitely did have the best group of players, one on one nobody could go blow for blow with us. However that’s not what it takes to win, we might have been the best collection of players but we certainly weren’t the best TEAM. It’s the old saying which gets banded around so much that you get sick of hearing that “the best players don’t make the best team” but on this occasion it was 100% true. It was no one’s fault and it can’t be, to be a team you have to work to improve things together. We simply didn’t do enough, train enough, or play enough together.
I look at Birmingham and think how the hell did they even get close to us, they probably don’t have a player in the team that would make the top four of ours. Teamwork goes a long way but we weren’t that bad. Then I think back to 2010 when we were chasing our first national championship for a long time. We weren’t expected to do anything special, maybe top four would have been great for Mohawks in a lot of other people’s eyes. We had a belief that we would win it all and that we were the best team and had something to prove and something to fight for. Even though Birmingham came up short they reminded me a lot of that team we had in 2010. The hunger was there, the excitement, the cohesion and the belief that they could win, they worked hard and ran all day on defence. They were probably just two top end players short of being able to win it all.
I look at our team and think we wanted to win but maybe the belief wasn’t right. I think we all thought it would come to us easily just like regionals had and like we expected. It’s nationals and the quality is ever improving, no team is going to be able to show up and hope for an easy ride. The way we went up in games and then expected to coast made me think that this was certainly one of our big problems. Maybe we had the desire to win just didn’t want to work hard for it.
Then I think about the Brimingham game again and I think they just wanted it more, 3rd to them meant a lot more than it did to us. We have got to the position where we are at the top but because most of those people that worked there arses off in those meaningless games over the years building up to this have gone there are few who realise that pain that it takes to be the best. It’s time to realise that it’s hard to get to the top but it’s even harder to stay there.
At some point it might be a year it might be two or three, the club will have to rebuild and we need to keep the desire and spirit to succeed going. We need to work as hard as we can and then go a little bit further. Winning doesn’t come easily at all that’s why they only let one team do it. It’s just as much about the willingness, desire and hard work that it takes as it is about the tools that you have. Only a few are lucky enough to have the players that we do, if we can combine all of the aspects above then we can and will be the best once more and for a long time.