Let's do it all again...
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IT'S a tough summer when you spend months agonising over being only a minute away from forcing a grand final into extra time.
Months are spent dealing with the agony that only the memories of such a bitter defeat can bring and the wait for the next season to roll around can seem like an eternity.
Craig Wallace has just experienced that summer but being the strong leader that he is, the Sawtell captain-coach has refused to allow himself or anyone else at Panther land to wallow in self pity. Instead the veteran forward has done nothing but look towards tomorrow's opening round clash with arch-rival Coffs Harbour at Advocate Park.
"We've been looking forward to the first game of the year for a while now," he said.
"We finished last year on a good note and we want to start this year on a good note. It's going to be hard, they're keen as they've got a lot of new players and a new coach so there's a lot of excitement in their club and they'll be playing in front of a huge crowd."
The unflappable Wallace says that there's a simple way to deal with all the hype coming from the opposition.
"We just need to concentrate on our game and shut down whatever they throw at us, that's how I want us to approach every week" he demanded.
"We've only got to play this week then we've got a break next week due to Easter so we can go hell for leather and make sure we leave nothing in the tank as we've got a big recovery period."
Most of the talk around the rugby league traps this week in the build-up to the big clash has been about a massive clash in the forwards where new Comets props Andrew Miller and captain-coach Aaron Dyett have promised a physical approach against Wallace's big boppers in Brad Wykes and new recruit Aaron Considine.
It's all in one ear and out the other for Wallace, a man who's so intimidating on a football field that he's scared his own hair away.
"We'll just concentrate on doing our own thing and hopefully after 80 minutes we'll come out on top."