10/08/2018 2:00:00 p.m.
“Every year we have to pretty much start again. We don't have the same team two years in a row.”
His team, which he coaches with Ben Blair, beat New Brighton in the recent final.
“People have said will we get complacent but of our new players this year there are a lot in their first year in Division 1, so it’s their first competition win, and for them it’s new and fresh.
“For the new boys next year it will be the same.”
He also said Lincoln may seem dominant but that was not really the case.
“If you look at the past few years we have had success but we haven't totally dominated the season. In 2016, Sydenham should have beaten us in the semi-final but a Jordie Barrett try right at the death sealed it.
“In 2017 we came in to the top four in fourth. We had a good semi-final and the leaders in that year Sydenham again lost in an upset to University. In the final University had a chance at the death to win it but a turn over penalty closed the game out.
“If we were winning by 30 in every game then that is dominance. We had a very light preseason with only one game and used our early competition games to blood and test new players. At the start of the year I thought a semi-final spot would be a success but I adjusted that after the New Zealand Universities (NZU) tour when the back-up players did so well to keep us unbeaten while the more experienced players were away.”
He said managing the four weeks the side had seven players away with New Zealand Under 20 and the Universities side was a challenge.
“The High School Old Boys game was a standout, where we won 33-31 after being down 31-19 with about 12 min to play. For the young guy's that were filling in during the NZU tour that was a watershed moment for them. They grew some real belief in a tough week where we played three games in seven days.
“After that period I thought we could really have a crack.”
As for standout players, he said Cullen Grace coming straight out of school and playing in 90 per cent of the games was notable.
“He played like he had been there for years at Div 1 level. For Ben Morris being co- captain was his first leadership experience, but he got better and better as they year went on. It didn't affect his on field play and he took control of the team at the thick end of the season.”
“However, while we have lots of young players one of the reasons where we have been able to see a difference over the past four years is we also have a number that are staying at the club. They are getting work locally or doing extra study so that has made a huge difference.
“We get good numbers to Lincoln University that come for the rugby. We traditionally get big numbers for trials. A lot of guys that don't get scholarships come because of our rugby programme being successful.
“Colts level players are able to live and train on site. So it’s like a year round rugby camp. They get fitness training at the University’s Recreation Centre and able to practice on the field in their own time, and fit it around around study.
“There are lots of reasons for the clubs success, a big one being a lot of hard work on, and off the field. There are a few hurdles to overcome every year, but it has been a rewarding period, of which the club can be proud.
Bring on 2019.
Picture: Ben Blair, left, and Bevan Sisson with the Hawkins Trophy