2019 is the year the Bay of Plenty Steamers coaching staff got the formula right.
Some of the players may still be celebrating today, such was the excitement and relief of beating Hawke's Bay 12-7 in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final on Friday at Rotorua International Stadium. With the desire and determination they showed this season, few would blame them.
Speaking on Sunday, having had time to reflect on his most successful season yet as head coach, Clayton McMillan said a lot of different things have to go right to win a title. However, he did reveal one key theme which drove the team all year.
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"It was based around the movie The Greatest Showman. The long and short of it is the movie is about creating this amazing show and in the movie it's a bunch of rejects and freaks that are a bit of an eyesore in society.
"Our focus this year was around understanding that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Our job was to focus on everybody's strengths and providing they brought that act to the table, it would all go in the melting pot to hopefully make a really great show."
They even remixed the team song to include the lines: "We are the greatest showmen of them all, we don't hold that ball too long, we just pass it right along". Considering they finished atop the Championship table with a points differential of +181, there is little doubt the players bought into the idea.
McMillan gave them license to play and they flourished, playing an expansive game without becoming reckless.
"As an example, Chase Tiatia was the magician and what we needed him to do was pull some tricks out every now and then. If he was playing that way, we knew it came with some risk and reward but we focused on the reward rather than the risk. That's probably reflective in part around the way that he played this year.
"We got good people involved right across the whole union and team, it's been the culmination of a couple of years of really hard work. There was a bit of strategy, bringing some younger guys in and plugging holes with a bit of experience - we just got the balance right this year."
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While winning the Championship title was well worth celebrating, perhaps even more important was gaining promotion to the Premiership for next year.
McMillan said the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union had already been hard at work keeping this year's squad together for 2020 as well as making some more recruitments. The Steamers are not going into the tier 1 competition focusing on survival - they want to win.
"Our thought process will be around not just staying in the competition but giving it a decent shake. We don't want to be up there to just survive, we want to be up there to contest.
"We're well underway in terms of our recruitment for 2020, a good portion of this year's squad are either locked in or in the process of being locked in. We've got some guys returning, heavy hitters like Kane Le'aupepe, Tyler Ardron and we've managed to secure Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi to come back [from Taranaki].
"What we achieved this year was great but we need to constantly get better and we'll look to do that."
On Sunday, Steamers captain Aidan Ross said what the team had achieved was still sinking in but he was well aware that the real test would come next year.
"It gives us a shot at the proper one next season but we've been enjoying ourselves the last few days.
"This year, it was definitely refreshing having new coaching staff, no disrespect to who we had last year, they were awesome but I guess just a different eye on things. We had an awesome theme throughout the campaign, which just grew and grew, and everyone bought in.
"At the end of the day, we were playing in a team who were in the form of their lives, it always helps when the team is playing well. It's great to see smiles on the fans' faces - that final the other day, the crowd was awesome. It's good to see the fans in the Bay having something to be proud of."
He said, providing they were able to get most of the squad back next year, he was confident his side would be able to excel in the Premiership.
"If it's the playing roster we have at the moment - really good forwards, exciting backs - if we keep everyone on board I'm sure we'll give it a good crack. Hopefully everyone sticks around because there's good things building at the Bay union."