Waratah State League 2017: Dubbo Rams defeated in final game but motivation remains high heading into off-season

It was a year to remember for fans of basketball in Dubbo but Rams player-coach Damien Reid is determined to see his side take the next step in 2018.

After going through last season winless, the Rams recruited American star Conrad Etchi and he helped the side vie for a finals spot at one stage before a poor run of results late on saw the side finish on the lower half of the ladder.

The season came to a close on Saturday afternoon with a 72-58 loss to the Canberra Gunners.

Despite the disappointing finish, there was still a huge amount of positives for the Rams in 2017 and Reid wants his side to use that in the off-season.

“It’s time for us as players to step up,” he said.

“This year the board stood up and backed us and helped bring in Conrad. As players, this off-season we’ve got to step up and be ready for next year.”

The plan is already being formed for Rams players to be working on fitness during the summer to ensure the side is ready for round one next year.

Saturday afternoon’s performance, and many other games in recent weeks, was a perfect metaphor for the Rams’ season, according to Reid.

Much like the season began poorly with three straight defeats, the Rams have started matches too slowly this season, only to come roaring back into the contest and then, disappointingly, fall off late in the game.

Canberra, one of the true Waratah State League powerhouses, was always in control on Saturday at the Woolshed and ran away with it late on, despite 17 points from Etchi and 13 from Bart Sykes.

“We went with them for most parts but Canberra is a quality side,” Reid said.

The home crowd support was again immense, something which has been a constant this season, and Reid was keen to all those who had been turning up each week to cheer the Rams on.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for the amount of support we’ve had this entire season,” he added.

In terms of the match itself, Reid was delighted to see young gun Nic Conte have such a strong match while Sykes and Mark Willis were also singled out for praise.