Almanac Book Review: “Here it is” by Paul Roos

 

 

 

Paul Roos has been criticised about his coaching style and suggested his Swans wouldn’t win the flag unless he changed his game plan. But Sydney Swans broke the 72-year premiership drought in 2005.

Roosy’s game plan has been interpreted as a defensive one, but actually it was not. It was the combination of both defensive and offensive.

In 1998 after retiring from playing at Fitzroy and Sydney, Roos set 24 points on coaching for the future career, adding one following year when he observed sports in the US.

He promised his gap year after playing AFL footy to spend time with the family in the US (his wife Tami is American). Roos has visited top NFL clubs and NBA clubs.

American football and basketball had been full time professional sports. The former AFL player was impressed with their training facilities with camera and IT equipment to analyse trainings and their game related training programs. These had not been installed or conducted in Australia at the time.

After coming back to Australia, Roos was back at Sydney Swans as an assistant coach. The sign of fracture has been sensed and the club has been going downhill.. There was a lack of unity, and division was creeping in, as well  a lack of success caused a lot of frustration at the club.

The scarecrow conducted by then coach Rodney Eade on 16 June 2002 showed such fracture at Sydney Swans. Eade resigned later and Roos was appointed as a caretaker coach for the rest of the 2002 season.

Roos’ record was good and fans handed the petition to the club wanting them to appoint Roos as senior coach.

His presentation at the coaching selection was based on his 25-point coaching note written in 1998. Roos was appointed as the Swans coach.

To establish the strong culture at the footy club, his primary mission was establishing good relationships with each other and good communications.

Also he implemented the game related training program to be more competitive. Tackles, picking up grounded balls and handballs were important in order to win games.

He believed good defense brought more wins, but forwarding balls to the midfield and forward lines was essential to win. If a  stoppage is created by an opponent, other players need to tackle and get ball back and handball to a teammate. His game plan was both defensive and offensive.

Sydney Swans had been predicted to win the wooden spoon in the 2003 season, but finished the home and away season in fourth position.

Roosy’s game plan went well, but was up and down  in 2004 and 2005 with injuries. But they hung in there. Players were told their specific tasks and roles on the field. The club stayed with the game plan.

The dramatic come back from behind of a big margin during the Second semi-final against Geelong put them still underdogs for the following week’s Preliminary Final against St Kilda. But they had done their job in the last 30 minutes. Then their game plan on chasing key opponent players such as Ben Cousins and Chris Judd of West Coast worked out well. Plus their providing handball skills in a close game brought them a flag in 2005.

The Grand Final following year was played by the same clubs, but West Coast secured the premiership cup.

As in his coaching philosophy, a coaching job should last around seven to eight years and then  a fresh start should occur. In 2009, he decided to step down from coaching the next year, and his assistant coach John Longmire was appointed the senior coach.

Roos served as a coach at the Sydney Swans Academy, training and developing junior players bringing them into the AFL system when they have matured. The academy was established because Roos was worried by the low number of NSW boys getting drafted by AFL clubs.

Rather than seeking talents, he implemented to the boys the importance of hardworking in order to be a great professional player in AFL.

In 2013, Melbourne Football Club had been seeking a solution to rebuild the fractured club and the chief executive Peter Jackson had run out of ideas for rebuilding. He visited the premiership coach in a hotel where he stayed for his media role and Jackson asked him  would he consider taking the Demons coaching role.

Later Roos met Melbourne players at his administration office to talk. Jack Watts begged Roosy to coach his club and then Roos decided to be a Melbourne coach but with a term of two-year contract with the potential of a third year.

Roos implemented the same attitudes and coaching plan to Melbourne Football Club, but the process has been tougher than when he was in charge at Sydney Swans.. The division was deeper than he had thought.

But positive signs appeared in 2016, his third year. His club became more competitive and players cared for each other and did what they were instructed.

Meanwhile, concerned for the draft system in AFL, the concept of TAC Cup, and having been a captain at a young age (20 to 22) his perceptions were  seen as reasonable and the AFL needs to take his advice on board.

Now, he and his wife Tami set up a business Roos Synergy, which is centred around wellness, leadership, work/life balance, mediation, and power of the mind.

The title for the book  comes from his premiership speech, not the original and rehearsed one but off the cuff, “For the people who’ve waited 72 years to see South Melbourne, slash Sydney Swans, win the premiership, HERE IT IS!’.

Here it is is for sport coaches and corporate leaders as Roos suggests, but would also be useful for individuals who are seeking success in their life and life balances.

This is an inspiring and encouraging book. I appreciate the sports journalist and my generous good friend Francis Leach for giving me a great opportunity to read this amazing book.

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Being a passionate Japanese St Kilda supporter currently based in Kyoto, I love writing articles in English and am glad to be a part of the Almanac family. Having the AFL Global Pass, I follow all St Kilda games mostly live. Otherwise I watch replay. Thanks the modern technology! But watching footy at the stadium is what I want. I’m sad not being able to watch an Anzac Day match in my favourite Wellington, but would love to do in Melbourne. Attending a St Kilda game in 2017 is sort of officially promised. My life needs to improve like did our boys in 2016. I wish I could contribute writing in English more to work even if I am less likely a professional writer.

Comments

  1. Dr Goatboat says:

    I enjoyed reading your review. A very interesting hu who has contributed much to the game and its development.
    Maybe the Gold Coast will end up playing near you soon!
    Keep up the writing .

  2. Thanks Dr Goatboat.

    It’s an interesting story indeed and Paul Roos brought many positive attitudes and different ideas into clubs.

    I will keep writing under his ‘game related trainings’ and reading so that I can improve my English skills in all aspects.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

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