Monday 30 August 2010

Coach Murray Davis and captain Jarred Ilett have both spoken of their pride in the team’s gutsy effort in their first ever QAFL final yesterday.

The Thunder twice drew to within a goal of the rampaging Mt Gravatt in the last quarter but were unable to deliver the knockout blow.

“I was really proud of them because at different stages I thought they (Mt Gravatt) quite easily could have gotten ahead of us but they showed a lot of character,” Davis told Jess Webster from the NT News.

“It’s a funny feeling, you have the disappointment of losing a final but then on the other side you have the satisfaction of knowing they gave it their all and their effort was great, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The loss of class ruckman Kenrick Tyrrell with a knee injury that was going to sideline him for the entire finals series hurt the Thunder.

“I think when you miss guys like Kenrick Tyrrell, who is up there with one of the best ruckman in the competition (the job gets harder), but I don’t think we could have done too much more,” Davis said.

“We had a young side, we had 13 players 21 or younger and they will take a great deal of experience out of it.”

Ilett, who led from the front and was one of his team’s best players, said the pain of losing the elimination final would only make the playing group stronger.

“It definitely hurts, you do need to take the lessons out of that hurt and it makes you stronger,” he said.

“And that’s the message we have to send to the players, these losses hurt, and you learn from them and get better and stronger.

“The guys stuck it out, the 23 players that ran out today, we went in there knowing that each and every one of us could have done the job, unfortunately we couldn’t get over line.”

Ilett is keen for his side to improve their travelling record – they won just once on the road and collapsed in three of their four trips to Alice Springs – to give them a better chance of finals success.

“We haven’t really got the results on the road and its something that we need to dissect and really look at,” Ilett said.

“If we can pick up a few more wins on the road we can finish up higher on the ladder, and a home final for us would have been exactly what we needed.”

Ilett believes the young Thunder squad will only get better next season.

“You get a taste for it (finals footy), if we can get more blokes in the Territory putting in the hard work, the rewards are there,” he said.

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