"I'm absolutely devastated." Those were the words of Canowindra's Regan Hughes after learning he would miss Saturday's NSW Cup grand final between North Sydney Bears and South Sydney Rabbitohs. Hughes has been a constant in the Bears pack this season but copped a one-match suspension for a crusher tackle in the preliminary final against New Zealand Warriors. The front-rower said he was frustrated but would be ready to go if Norths win and qualify for the State Championship on NRL grand final day. "I just have to take it on the chin really," he said. "I've done the same tackle countless times this year and haven't once got a call for it and then all of a sudden the game before the grand final they decide to act on it. "It is what it is." After signing for the Bears in 2022 following a stint with Western Suburbs Magpies, Hughes has quickly become a key figure for the red and black. Norths will end their partnership with Sydney Roosters at the end of the 2023 season and will become the feeder club for Melbourne Storm. Hughes said his desire to play NRL still burned brightly. "I absolutely want to play NRL," he said. "I need to tweak a few things in my game to get there but if I'm fortunate enough to get there I'd be very happy. "I love the club. We've been lucky enough to have a really good team the past couple of years. I like all the coaching staff and the structure of how we do things. "It just suits me as a player so I'll be there again next year." The former CSU player said he was thriving under the mentorship of Bears legend and former Parramatta Eels, Souths and Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor. "I think he's great," he said. "He's really good at player management. He's good at talking to the boys and bringing us together as a collective and making sure everyone is part of the team. "You aren't an individual when you came back to play. "It's hard to get that integration when the Roosters boys go train with their squad and then come back and only do one training session and have to learn what we are trying to do. "The coaching staff and JT especially go to a lot of effort to make sure we are all onboard." Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.