The Willagee Bears took advantage of NRL WA’s Smarter Than Smoking Premiership Bye last weekend to catch up on some good old bonding time.

Coach Nelson Davis said the club held a team session to boost morale around the clubhouse.

“We had a boys club at the league club where there was a Playstation and dinner and everyone could bring the families down and play some games,” he said.

After a successful season in Reserve Grade in 2017, Davis admitted First Grade has been a whole new challenge.

“Last year the morale was quite easy to uphold because of the nature of us winning, but this year it has been more challenging,” he said.

“I’ve been relying a lot on our senior players – it’s all about attitude.”

After starting the season with seven straight losses, Davis says the club are in a building phase.

“We are in a building phase. Next year and the following we’re expecting to be more competitive,” he said.

Despite having not tasted victory in 2018, Davis can see the improvements his side are making – highlighted by a strong display in a 32-12 loss to the Joondalup Giants in Round Seven.

“We never had any of those lapses where we have fifteen to twenty minutes where our heads weren’t in the game and we rained tries,” he said.

The Giants game was also Ryan Mills’ final in a Bears uniform, with the utility heading to Canada to play rugby union for Vancouver Rowing Rugby Club.

Davis expects former Manly SG Ball Cup utility Anaiyah Umu to step up in Mills’ absence.

“He’s very busy. He likes to be where the work is,” Mills said.

“He’s also got quite the range of skills. Millsy (Mills) was the ultimate utility – I can see features of that in Ania.”

The Bears host the Fremantle Roosters in Round Eight, with the Premiers coming off two straight losses.