We’ve got plenty to work on - Dermody

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Head coach Tony Brown has not renewed his contract in order to continue his role with the Japan side, and Dermody said he wanted to be considered for the head coach position, something he had done in Brown's absence in 2021.


"This club is everything to me. If I was given that opportunity I would love it. We've got to go through reviews now, and what will be, will be. Hopefully, I can make this team better if we get the opportunity," he said.


Dermody said the Highlanders couldn't be happy, even if they had made the playoffs.


"We set out at the start of the year to finish higher up the ladder than what we did. We know we've got plenty to work on.


"What we know is, we've got quality players coming back into our team that have been injured and, hopefully, we can add a few more over the off-season and come back better," he said.


Losing All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith before the game to a groin injury that will keep him from action for two or three weeks did not help. However, replacement Folau Fakatava demonstrated why he shaped as a longer term prospect at the highest levels.

"I thought he [Fakatava] was our best player, him and [No8] Marino [Mikaele-Tu'u] were probably our two standouts, and they have been all year which is exciting because they're two young guys with big futures," he said.


The Highlanders did have the Blues under pressure early, but that was only for 20 minutes and without testing the goal-line.


"We needed to put them under scoreboard pressure," he said.


Their ability to extend what pressure they had achieved was undone by losing hooker Andrew Makalio to a red card.


"They scored two pretty soft tries through that period, and she's a long way back after that," he said.


Lack of consistency was the issue that hindered the Highlanders all season.


"We had patches where we dropped off against the Blues and couldn't slow their big ball-carriers down. Then you've got Beauden Barrett pulling the strings," he said.


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