AS the Orange Tigers posed for a team photo with the Central West AFL trophy on Saturday afternoon, some 15 metres away Steve Grundy couldn’t bear to look.
That is how much it hurt the Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels co-coach to lose the grand final.
Ruled out for 2018 after having surgery in the pre-season, Grundy watched every minute of the Rebels’ 2018 campaign from the sideline.
He saw plenty of good – such as winning the major semi-final and two derby wins over Bushrangers club-mates the Outlaws – but he felt the pain of every defeat too.
And Saturday’s 12-10-82 to 10-19-79 loss at George Park 2 hurt most of all.
Still, after watching his side surrender a 27-point lead, Grundy did as all good coaches do and tried to console his players.
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“I am still super proud of what we have achieved this year, it was a fantastic season. It's an amazing club with amazing people,” he said.
“The one thing about the club you know is that they are really resilient. We have been in this position too many times unfortunately, but we know we’ll be back next year.
“We will take the time, we’ll let it hurt, we’ll be back bigger and better next year.”
While it was hard to see the positives after a bitter defeat, there was things for Grundy to like.
His men tackled hard throughout, threw themselves into attempted smothers, and went hard at the football.
They did it up until the final siren.
“It was a very hotly contested game, I feel like we controlled a lot of that game and to go into the last quarter with the lead that we had - we probably just let ourselves down a little bit there right at the end,” Grundy said.