COLUMN: Roller-coaster season an emotional ride

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Martin Taupau of the Tigers breaks through a tackle during the round 14 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on June 12, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Martin Taupau of the Tigers breaks through a tackle during the round 14 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on June 12, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

After 10 years of covering Wests Tigers, I've come to realise that two things are certain:

1. There will be many times in a season a match report contains the words: "The team just didn't play for 80 minutes" or "silly errors let them down".

2. There will be just as many times — if not more — that a game will include at least one "stroke of brilliance".

I'm talking about the play that no one saw coming; the try-saving tackle or incredible acrobatics on the sideline to keep the ball in the field of play.

Think of Pat Richards managing to kick the ball while being pulled over the sideline in round five, allowing James Tedesco to catch and score.

Or think of Martin Taupau's powerful fend on Rabbitoh Alex Johnston in round 14 before scoring a four-pointer.

The point?

It doesn't matter how many times the side lets us down with inconsistent performances or silly errors, there are plenty of reasons to love them.

There's no denying season 2015 was a stinker.

Our team managed only eight wins and narrowly avoided the wooden spoon due to a better for-and-against tally than the Knights.

Then there's the possible/impending departure of captain Robbie Farah that again had the Wests Tigers in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Yes, there's been plenty to be upset about this season (the loss to the Raiders in round seven after being up 22-0 still makes me cranky) but that's rugby league — only one fan base out of 16 are truly going to be happy when the final whistle is blown.

So let's not turn our backs on our team. Let's not "boo" the coach because we don't like a decision he's made (how many of us could actually cut it as an NRL coach?)

Let's not unload a horrible tirade on social media that we wouldn't have the guts to say to the face of club officials, players or coaches.

This season was my last reporting on Wests Tigers. And writing for Tiger Talk will be the part of my job I will miss the most: the privileged position of access to players and coaches, the sound of the team song reverberating under Campbelltown Sports Stadium after a win, the preseason chats about players' expectations for the year ahead.

So if these are the last words I write about Wests Tigers, I want them to be: This club will always have a place in my heart, win or lose.

This story COLUMN: Roller-coaster season an emotional ride first appeared on Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser.