ILLAWARRA COAL LEAGUE
Their season may have ended a week earlier than planned but Wests captain-coach Jason Ryles was full of praise for his side's courage in Sunday's loss to Helensburgh.
Despite a host of injuries to key personnel during the season, the Devils mounted a late charge at the title and tried to force their way into the decider when they led 16-6 at half-time.
However, they fell short, with the Tigers enjoying a glut of possession and field position in the second half to storm home, but Ryles couldn't fault the Devils's effort.
"We've got a really good squad of blokes here with a really good attitude of wanting to play for each other. That's just part of the fabric of the club and it really shone through there, we went down fighting," Ryles said.
"We had Jack Bosden, who didn't actually play, Jimmy Green, Danny Williams, Brendan Oake all missing and Matty Clarke didn't play today. They're top-line players and with the guys who came in we were a shandy off winning, so the club's in good stead for the future ... everyone's buying into it and playing for each other."
Ryles said his side simply made too many errors in the second half to keep a disciplined Tigers outfit at bay.
"We were our own worst enemy in the second half. Unfortunately when a team completes at above 90 per cent, which they did in the second half, it's hard to compete," Ryles said.
"We made a few unforced errors which came back to bite us in the end and on top of that we had another 10-5 penalty count which was disappointing.
"If you add all those factors into it, any team's going to struggle to win."
The match was also Ryles's swansong as a player, with the former international to restrict himself to the coach's box next season.