Last year Jono Lance was the Buildcorp NRC Player of the Year playing with NSW Country but this year he’s a championship winner with Perth Spirit.
The 26-year-old missed the semi-final with a hamstring injury but was instrumental in guiding his side to a four-point win over his old side in Tamworth.
“It was a little bittersweet for me with a lot of the guys from the Country Eagles I played with last year and I know how passionate they are about getting back to the country, so to see how disappointed they are is a little bit sad but as I said it was special for us and you can see how much it means to everyone,” Lance said.
The Western Australian side finished third after the regular season and had to beat the two top sides of the competition to claim their first major trophy in a national competition.
“We really peaked at the right time of the year and the way we managed to play, attacking last week against the Rays and then the way we defended tonight was a credit to everyone,” Lance said.
“I think it was the physicality, the way the boys got stuck into each other, the old cliché that defence wins championships showed tonight.
“We didn’t have much of the ball in the last 30 minutes and to hang on with two yellow cards is a credit to all 23.”
Lance moved to Perth to play with the Western Force after two seasons at the Waratahs and feels privileged to have been able to help deliver silverware back to the west coast.
“You can see the passion of the fans over in Perth and obviously it’s been a lean few years but I think the NRC’s really going to lay a platform for us to take some confidence into (Western Force) preseason and then going ahead after that,” he said.“It’s been a long time for a lot of the Perth guys to taste winning and that’s why it was so important for us.”