ORANGE CYMS captain-coach Mick Sullivan has handed out a scathing season-ending assessment on the green and golds’ “bitterly disappointing” 2014 Group 10 premier league campaign.
And he’s pointing the finger directly at himself.
Never backward in coming forward, the three-time premiership-winning leader has said his side’s 2014 season, which came to a halt after Bathurst St Pat’s handed CYMS a 32-10 final round lapping on Sunday, was doomed from the outset following some poor decisions made at crucial stages of the year.
“There’s a few mistakes I made at the top and a few things I would have done differently. If you’re not leading from the front things can go wrong,” Sullivan said.
“I’m left to lament a few things in that regard.
“It’s back to the drawing board a bit.”
It’s the first time CYMS haven’t made a finals series in Sullivan’s five-year tenure at the green and golds.
CYMS have made the grand final in each of the last four seasons, winning premierships in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Finishing sixth this year, the defending premiers must now sit back and watch Orange Hawks and Bathurst Panthers lock horns in Saturday’s elimination semi-final at Wade Park before Mudgee hosts Cowra in a qualifying semi-final blockbuster at Glen Willow on Sunday.
Earning a week off, St Pat’s finished with the minor premiership.
“We didn’t deserve to make the finals,” Sullivan continued.
“It’s bitterly disappointing, but the teams that are there deserve their spot.”
A staunch believer that no side out of the top three can win the competition, Sullivan’s of the belief St Pat’s sit firmly in the box seat to claim their first title since 2008.
“I like the look of Panthers too, but with a couple of injuries to Carpo (Luke Carpenter) and Cody (Robbins) then they’ll find it hard,” he said.
“Cowra and Pat’s are the teams that are there though.
“Unless Mudgee can get some of their weapons back then they’ll be in a bit of trouble.”
Sullivan added he’s already looking at the 2015 season, and with a few personnel changes on the cards - backrowers Kyran Bubb and Matt Penny are question marks for next season, as are travelling duo Brent Colley and Dan Stuart - the green and golds will take a largely different form next winter.
“There’s going to be a few changes and we’ll have to look at the guys we’ve had travel. We struggled to field a consistent side when we trained this year and that really put pressure on us during games,” Sullivan said.
“I’m already looking forward to next year. We get a full off-season now instead of waiting until January.”