2012 An Unbelievable Turnaround


The 2012 season provided the club with the perfect end to its first 100 years. Another premiership that provided a perfect example of a unique “Butchers Spirit” that has enabled us to fight back against adversity so many times. The following season summary is provided by Butchers winger Mitchell Bate with the help of his father in law and coach Phil Ostwald.

“2012 started in very familiar circumstances”, says coach Phil Ostwald. After Back to back 40-point drubbings by last years grand finalists many people in and around the club didn’t give the season much hope. But Ossie had been in this position before and after some reassuring words and distilling some belief in the boys the season took a turn for the better. “We had a similar start in 99 when I was coach, the first 5 games resulted in losses then we went on undefeated to win the comp”. Little did he know 99 was showed an amazing resemblance to season 2012. After some repositioning of players including Joel Johnson to hooker, a new halving pair of Ty Mcarthy and Michael Dengate the First grade team started to gel together slowly. The two Poms, Shane Grady and Ewan Dowes started to find their feet and show really good signs. A move from the centres to the front row saw Grady really dominate mid way through the year, which led to his selection in the Illawarra and country teams. Between Ossies mumbled orders and the poms thick northern accents all the other players were at sixes and sevens as to what was going at times. By mid way through the second half of the year the team, led by Captain and prop Bryce Forrest, had gone through and beaten all the sides in the competition. All combinations were working, players had great trust in each other and things were looking great.

It was a weekly tussle who would lead the tackle and hit ups category, Lock Matt Galagher, back rower Mark Sherpard featured heavily in the weekly stats as did outside backs, Daniel Perkins and Daniel Rauicava. Not to go unmentioned on the stats board were wingers Mitchell Bate and Brett Southam on the try scoring side things but were only in the shadows of Joel Johnson as week after week he got over the white line.

Through the turnaround in the season evergreen back rower Aaron Beath and full back Brent Grose provided great leadership for the younger guys and solid all round football. They provided a good steady foundation and a level head when needed.

As the Semi final football approaches the team had a wake up call with a loss to Shellharbour, but it was just what the doctor ordered as the side re focused on the bigger picture ahead.

After being unlucky in the first Semi Final against Helensburgh where the side went down on the full time siren, the guys bounced back with wins against Collies the following week and beating the burgh to set up the grand final against West’s.

Hard working forwards Adam Goode, Jacob Ling and Duncan Reilly got the nod to be on the bench for the GF, whilst Joel Ruskin got a call up to replace Brett Southam in the grand final after Brett unfortunately suffered a season ending Knee injury the previous week.

So all was set and preparation was done, nerves where throughout the dressing room and all was going to script. Well that was until west’s scored inside the first two minutes of the game and team realized they were up against it. But in true butchers spirit and never say die attitude the boys came out after half time and blew west off the park through attack, defense and fitness. Running out winners 20 to 16.

Hooker Joel Johnson was named Man of the match for an outstanding performance and a week later named player of the year, for the Illawarra Coal league, a huge achievement from the classy hooker. Needless to say he cleaned up at the clubs presentation evening.

So not only did Ossie coach the side to the premiership he some how along the way took the role as a mentor, mind reader, translator, interpreter, listener and joke teller. These qualities were crucial in dealing with the likes of Sheppo who was able to push every button possible, Ty who avoided training at all costs (some of the bests excuses known to man) and Bateo who questioned every decision and direction, not to mention every other player who used excuses each week to not train because it was to wet, to cold or to windy!

The Grand Final winning team was Brent Grose, Mitchell Bate, Daniel Perkins, Daniel Rauicava, Joel Ruskin, Ty McCarthy, Michael Dengate, Matt Gallagher, Mark Sheppard, Aaron Beath, Bryce Forrest (c), Joel Johnson, Shane Grady. The interchange men were Duncan Reilly, Ewan Dowes, Jacob Ling, Adam Goode.

2012 was the 19th successive season that Thirroul firsts had reached the semi finals. Ty McCarthy and Shane Grady were selected in the Illawarra Divisional team and both were then selected to represent NSW Country. When you consider the financial situations of both Grand Final sides, it becomes clear that Thirroul’s achievement was outstanding. The seconds finished third on the ladder. They were beaten by Helensburgh in the qualifying final and by Corrimal in the minor semi. Despite the under 18s finishing seventh, Jack Croman showed what a point scoring wizard he is. In 2011, he totalled 174 points and in 2012, he crossed for 19 tries and kicked 53 goals to give him 184 points. Ty McCarthy, Brent Grose, Joel Ruskin and Derek Short were selected in both the 2012 Illawarra Divisional team and the NSW Country squad. Aaron Beath and Paul Air became Life Members of the club

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