After gaining Super League A status at the end of last season, St George’s RFC, who won the Super League B title in 2017, came very close to retaining their Super League A status for next season.
The Lulu Boys narrowly lost by 10 or fewer points out in seven matches, proving they improved considerably since their last time in Super League A in 2015. A few tough, yet valuable lessons were learnt from their minor setbacks this season.
St George’s is the one club in the region that doesn’t and has never offered any form of remuneration to players or coaches – a rare feat that has worked for the Lulu Boys – and girls, and many other clubs have since taken a similar approach.
One aspect of the Lulus that has helped keep in touching distance of many top rugby clubs has to be their fitness levels. For co-head coaches Mirwaan Davids and Charlton Cloete conditioning of the players has been high on the priority list.
This, coupled with a mixture of experience and young vibrant talent, has been attributed to much of the Lulus’ success. Players such as Lester Riffel, Riyaad Kies, Megan Rose, Morne Adams and Armien Bailey have set the platform for the younger generation to come through and exploit the gaps in their oppositions’ defence. Young players who have put up their hands during the season include Kyle Bender, Dimitri Hendricks, Bradley Robertson, Kyle Leibrandt and Nazeem Wood.
Narrow losses during the season saw the Lulu Boys unable to secure a top-six finish, which at some point seemed a likely possibility. A draw against NNK in Parow should, in fact, have been a bonus point victory had the decision making skills been sharper. As the season matured, the Lulu Boys unearthed the bright talent that will be a treat watch in the future.
What has stood out for St George’s is the unwavering backing of their loyal supporters. They have always been part of the Lulu family and are seen as part of the team – a 24th player on match day that many Super League clubs do not have, despite them winning trophies and tough matches.
The supporters stand by their team in rain, sunshine, victories and defeats, and their constant backing has certainly carried the team across the finishing line in many a season – and next season will be no different.
As the old adage goes, its back to the drawing board for Davids, Cloete and company, but the lessons from this season should be welcomed and embraced to fix the near misses of the season past.
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