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Metro Division 1 Update
New Brighton remains the talk of the competition and appears on course to win the Division 1 Cup this season with one round remaining.
The Seasiders beat Linwood 20-14 last weekend at Linfield and now face Belfast in the last round. On form they should win this match and complete what can only be described as an excellent start to the season.
If there has been a definitive point in New Brighton’s season so far it was undoubtedly at half-time in their round seven match-up against reigning champions Christchurch.
“We were 17-3 down,” recalls one of their coaches John Seque. “And we had not played the way that we had wanted. We however had the wind in the second half and the boys really turned it on and ended up winning 20-17.”
Such moments make seasons, although New Brighton has pushed on and proved last weekend against Linwood that they are worthy of their current top billing.
So why then the change from last season? If you recall the Seasiders started that season well and then faded. “There are a number of reasons for it,” John says. “The boys have put in a lot of hard work and so that has certainly helped. We also looked at our fitness, our defence and added some different things in to our game.
“We felt last season it was the little things that let us down in the end. The key for us this season has been to try and eliminate those things. We have started well but we still have a long way to go.”
New Brighton has also been helped by the presence of Isaac Ross, Tyson Keats and Ryan Crotty at different stages during the season. “What these guys have done is made our other players step-up. They have been a huge help to us and what we are doing. Isaac, for example, in respect to the lineouts has been invaluable in passing on his knowledge.”
John says however that the hallmark of the side this season so far has been its character. “We know that even if we are down we are still in with a shot. We have won a number of matches – including against Linwood last weekend – after coming from behind and that shows the great heart within the side.” New Brighton in fact needed a last minute try to Misi Selave to win last weekend.
As you might expect, the spirit within the New Brighton camp right now is unbelievable. “They key for us is to continue to play well and back our systems,” John says. “The guys trust each other on attack and defence and that has made a world of difference.”
John says that the downside of being undefeated so far is that they become the side everyone wants to beat. “That’s something that we have to live with and handle. It goes with the territory and we would not want it any other way. Still, we are only as good as our last match.”
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