NATHAN Bright says its time for redemption.
The Steamers’ inspirational leader remembers the solitude of the grand final changerooms in the wake of last year’s one-point loss — the emptiness, the faces of supporters.
In some ways he still blames himself.
A penalty against the run of play, a penalty supporters are still unable to explain, singled out the No. 8 — it was the pressure valve for an Ag College team that were out on their feet, the life buoy that delivered Aggies the cup.
Bright doesn’t dwell on the past but the veteran of four grand final campaigns in his 10 years at the Steamers knows this is a chance to put those demons to rest.
“I can still see the looks and pain etched on the faces of everyone involved last year,” he said.
“It was terrible in the changerooms — you look to blame everyone else but reflecting on it now there were certainly lots of things we could have done better.
“At the start of the game when we went to sleep, the technical error that gave them the try to get back in front.
“But now we have a chance to rewrite that story.
“This Steamers side has dominated the entire season and we want to, have to, apply that same sense of ruthlessness to this game on Saturday.
“Finish the year the way we started.”
Bright said the wisdom of hindsight had helped him see last year’s narrow loss in a more positive light.
“I look at this year’s Steamers and last year’s side and realise we were really struggling for depth — what that team was able to achieve against the odds was quite remarkable,” he said.
“But it has been 13 years since we won a grand final — in four of the past 10 years we have played in the decider, eight of 10 finished in the top four.
“We are long overdue.”
Bright said it was time to reassert their authority.
The Steamers were undefeated after the home and away season — scoring close to 1000 points for the year, conceding less than nine points a game.
“We need to stick to our game plan, get back to the way we were playing earlier in the year,” he said.
“To be fair when you have been travelling so well all year you begin to put unrealistic expectations on yourselves but I think we have had a really good couple of weeks since that first final and took some good lessons from playing poorly against Reddies and still winning.
“We have trained for this day, built our plans around playing in the decider and now we just have to execute the plan.”
Bright said he hoped Waratahs take them on in the forwards.
“They may try to throw it wide but their forwards are their strength and we’ll be ready for that,” he said.
“The Steamers pack has been pretty settled all year, its an engine room that has kept us on the front foot all year, given the backs the space to do their thing.”
Bright said his message to his teammates tomorrow will be simple.
“The grand final is for the club and its supporters as much as the players,” he said.
“We will go out there to go as hard and fast as we can — that is our plan, has been all year.”