Ross HP: Spirit are the masters of our own NRC destiny

By Pete Fairbairn, 29.09.16

The 2016 Buildcorp NRC enters its’ penultimate regular season round this weekend and as we’ve done all season this week another player in Perth Spirit star Ross Haylett-Petty has written exclusively for the RUPA website.

The Spirit currently sit just one point outside the top four, with three wins and two losses but a negative points differential, and coming off defeat against the unbeaten NSW Country Eagles on the weekend they know that they can’t afford another loss.
This weekend they host Brisbane City in Perth before travelling to Canberra to face the Vikings in Round Seven, in what could well loom as a playoff… for a playoff spot.

22-year-old forward Haylett-Petty has returned to action over the past fortnight after being rested through the first three rounds, and this week in his next blog he brings us into the Spirit’s inner sanctum as he details the morale within the group, the faith they have in their ability to compete and also how winning NRC games can be a positive for their affiliated side, the Western Force, heading into the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Ross Haylett-Petty - In His Own Words, 2016 Buildcorp NRC Round Seven:

It was disappointing to lose to NSW Country after we’d won two good games on the trot, however as a squad we certainly haven’t lost any determination. A couple of the Eagles’ tries came on the back of lapses in urgency. Even with the majority possession, we were hurt on the counter attack.

In the review what we saw was that we gave them opportunities, but we feel like as teams, we were quite evenly matched. At points in the game we just clocked off, and in-form players like Jake Gordon were good enough to take advantage of our lapses.

As a team we are still very confident in our abilities and we know that in terms of success in this competition, we are the masters of our own destiny. The most positive thing is that at training, when we are humming and everything is going right, we look like a championship team. That means that the pressure is therefore on us to make sure that we bring that to the paddock every weekend.

I guess we have to look at it as sudden death for the next four weeks, starting this weekend. We know that Brisbane City haven’t performed as well as they would’ve hoped but they have a lot of good players playing really good Rugby, so we are certainly not taking them lightly. We are preparing to play them as if they’re undefeated like the Eagles were, and we know that they are a proud team who will be determined to finish the season strongly after winning the championship in the last two seasons.

We are looking at this week, and then our visit to Canberra the following week, as a package. If we drop even one of these next two matches then we will be relying on the results of others to see if we make it into the finals, which was the case heading into our final game last year where we ultimately missed out.

On a personal level, it is really good to be back playing again. This competition has such an emphasis on running Rugby that you feel quite free asserting yourself on the contest.

Our coaches have told us to have no fear when we are playing, and that if something doesn’t come off to have no fear in taking the risk and trying again, so we are going into games with a freestyle game plan, which I love.

Of my two games back, I’ve started one at lock and one in the back row. My favourite position is 6, but of course I’m happy to play wherever I am needed. In reality, you have to do the same job regardless as to what number is on your back, but as a 6 you get to jump off that scrum a bit earlier, sneak around corners and take a few carries.

It’s been a bit weird not having my brother Dane, Adam Coleman or Luke Morahan around, as they’re all on tour with the Wallabies. We haven’t had Dane or Adam at all for this NRC, but we’re all so pleased to see them doing so well at Test level. I am very proud of Dane for what he has achieved, but for me it was always just a matter of time until he played for the Wallabies so I’m not surprised to see him slot straight in there and have an impact.

Between them and those guys who have left Perth and the Force for opportunities elsewhere, we have a smaller group coming into the Club every day. We have said goodbye to a lot of good friends but as a group we have also gotten even closer because there are less of us here now.

It has been a hard two years at the Force, because we know how good our players are, but we haven’t been getting the results. That whole time, our faith in our ability has been unwavering, but our consistency simply hasn’t been there.

For the Spirit to be winning games in the NRC is great as it brings back some positivity, and a lot of these younger guys who are getting opportunities in the NRC will likely get opportunities in Super Rugby in the future. That’s great, as it means that they will be coming from a winning culture, and eager for success from day one.

With all that being said, our focus is entirely on the weekend and winning the next two NRC games. We have the team and we have the hunger to go far in this competition, and we intend on going the whole way.

To the Finals or bust. Up the Perth Pigs.

2016 Buildcorp NRC, Round Six (all times AEST):
- QLD Country vs. NSW Country Eagles, 1:00pm Saturday October 1st, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba
- Sydney Rays vs. Canberra Vikings, 3:00pm Saturday October 1st, Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney (live on Fox Sports)
- Melbourne Rising vs. Western Sydney Rams, 3:00pm Sunday October 2nd, Harlequin Rugby Club, Melbourne (live on Fox Sports)
- Perth Spirit vs. Brisbane City, 5:00pm Sunday October 2nd, UWA Sports Park, Perth

Pete Fairbairn
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