THE Buffs have ended the regular Mount Isa AFL season by winning the minor premiership.
The ending to the season was a bittersweet moment considering the 55 point loss against Lake Nash in round 12.
Buffs captain Evan Magnus considered the flogging “a bit of a letdown”. The result had been 15.14 (104) to 7.7 (49) in favour of Lake Nash.
“We had a few players out and it made it difficult for us and we had to shuffle a few blokes around,” Magnus said.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the guts and a wake-up call.”
The league took a break during rodeo weekend with the next Saturday signalling the start to finals.
Although Buffs had done well this season the finals would be a different game, Magnus warned his players.
We are not going to walk through this. The year has been pretty easy for us, without sounding too cocky...It is not going to be like that anymore."Captain Evan Magnus
Each team would be at their full strength.
“Most teams are going to be playing their best teams in the final to go as far as they can.
“It just basically means we are all going to have to step up our game pretty much.
“There’s not much room for error any more. We are all going to have to be right on the ball.”
“The mindset we encourage everyone to have is we are not going to walk through this. The year has been pretty easy for us, without sounding too cocky.
“We have lost and touched up a few times. All in all we have come on top.
“It is not going to be like that anymore and we do not want people to think it is just going to happen like that.”
Buffs also have some injured players unable to bolster the field during the finals. Full forward Joel Bradley needs to recover from a series of concussions while Matt Costello, who occasionally steps in for Magnus in ruck, needs surgery for his shoulder.
Yet the team’s success this year had been defined by its regular commitment and the work of inaugural coach Alistair Baker.
“He is very switched on about his footy,” Magnus said. “He knows exactly what he is doing.
“He brings that experience from where there has been a higher level of football and has passed a lot of his knowledge onto the new blokes.”