Grand final is bittersweet for Bilcich

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Justin FrisSouth Western Times
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Tigers coach Stephen Bilcich went through plenty of emotions during the SWFL colts grand final on Sunday.
Camera IconTigers coach Stephen Bilcich went through plenty of emotions during the SWFL colts grand final on Sunday. Credit: Jack Gibellini

Sunday morning was a bittersweet occasion for South Bunbury colts coach Stephen Bilcich, who experienced the agony and ecstasy of grand final day.

In the Tigers’ rooms post-game, Bilcich put on a brave face as he calmly spoke to his players and consoled them following a tense grand final loss.

But as a father, there was a ray of happiness amid the gloom, with Bilcich’s son Max playing a part in the Bulldogs’ winning performance.

A man who rides every disposal and tackle with sheer delight from the dugout, Bilcich was blown away by how hard his side worked.

“I’ve never been more proud of a group,” he said.

“They listened, followed instructions and were prepared to learn. They have come a long way.

“Earlier in the year, we were struggling to get a side together. And then all of a sudden, we are playing off in a grand final.

“We were challenged constantly by a grand final side and we kept on answering them. We just did not kick enough goals.”

The Tigers might not have won the premiership, but their defensive effort against the dangerous Bulldogs forward line was nothing short of meticulous and something which could trouble rival clubs in future seasons.

“Our defenders have been the key to our game really,” Bilcich said.

“Probably the foundation of a great team is a strong defensive unit. Obviously at the end we needed to throw it around a little bit in order to try and get something.

“But we probably gave them a bit of a start. We have been struggling with our starts over the last couple of weeks while we have been trying different things.

“It did not work, so that is life.”

Bilcich believes youth could help his side remain competitive next season.

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