Coaching a Culture; Part 2 - Coach Stevenson's thoughts on the 2018 season ahead of Saturday's Final

This week sees the biggest game in Roughnecks history with the NFC 2 Final against the Chester Romans. We've sat down with each of the coaches this week to bring you their opinion on where the team stands heading into the game, and how they view the success of the 2018 season so far. Next up in the series is Defensive Co-ordinator, Bryce Stevenson:

Firstly, how are you feeling ahead of Saturday?

I'm feeling confident of our chances for Saturday as you'd expect. It's going to be a tough test but we are relishing the opportunity to go out and compete for a Division title.

Are you surprised at how far the team has gone this season?

No I'm not to be honest. I feel that this team has a very talented roster of guys returning from previous years and the rookies that have joined us this year have embraced their role whatever it may be. I said publicly from day 1  that this team is a Division 1 team currently playing in Division 2 and the changes that were made allowed the team to achieve their potential this year.

What was the most important change you feel you made this season?

I think the most important change we made was developing a culture where success was demanded. We tried to move away from the "pub team" mentality and start preparing like a team that wants to go somewhere. Attendance patterns with minimum required attendances, even the way we prepare for games. We follow a very simple formula where we respect our opposition in the lead up to the game by preparing the same way regardless of the opposition so when we take the field we have given ourselves the best opportunity to succeed. 

Who, so far, have been the stars on your defence?

They are all studs. I think the big stars in all honesty have been the captain's. Our DB group has developed a confidence and a real tenacity under captain #20 Darren Henderson who should be praised for the way they play. Our LBer corps under #85 Rob Hayes and #23 Philip McCall are absolute studs and they make it very easy to adjust to different schemes. And our defensive front just know how to hunt they don't ever stop hustling in the trenches and they love sacrificing themselves for others to make a play. And again the rookies that have come in that have provided support to starters have to take a lot of credit as well for the way they compete in training not allowing guys in front of them on the depth chart to relax.

What will be the key to the game on Saturday, where will the game be won and lost in your opinion?

We've certainly been preparing for Chester as, undoubtedly, they will have been for us. They will absolutely have things that we haven't seen in our preparations, but we certainly have things they won't have seen it's about who adjusts better as a team in my opinion. It might come down to one play. And we believe that when that opportunity presents itself we will make the play.

Beyond Saturday, what are your goals for the club in division 1 next season and more long-term?

At the moment we are focused on the Chester Romans however our goal has always been to be a competitive Division 1 team which was highlighted in my 3 year plan for this team when I took on the role of Defensive Coordinator. This has been echoed by every single player in this team who all said they wanted to be part of a competitive Division 1 football team next year. That's what it comes down to if the players want it then, as coaches we will work incredibly hard to facilitate and drive the train in that direction.