Should the Cats have had a review last year?
Yes, I know rhetorical question headlines can be annoying so I’ll say right from the start that I think Geelong should’ve had a review of some sort. Initially, I’m suggesting it because one was held at a similar time during Mark Thompson’s reign and resulted in minds being refocused and the coach receiving additional support.
I wouldn’t expect one to be repeated by such on field success, though.
In previous posts, I praised Chris Scott as a clear thinker and people manager, though raised a question about an aspect of his coaching philosophy and our inability to be psychologically up for matches that matter at the pointy end since 2011. Even during seasons, four-quarter efforts have been rare, in tandem with a tendency for too much predictable handball. Urgency and passion has often been missing. To what extent are the players expected to produce it themselves, and to what degree is a coach responsible for bringing it out of them?
The 2006 review wasn’t just about Mark Thompson, nor should any review be just about Chris Scott. But the outcome might’ve been that he could benefit by receiving additional assistance.
I expected 2016 to tell us once and for all about Scott’s coaching status, but by the end of the year was no wiser. We had progressed, aided somewhat by a favourable draw, but ultimately ended the season like every other since 2011.
We showed brief season-end improvement though, by winning a final against Hawthorn (some may say falling over the line was a more accurate assessment), only to go completely missing in the prelim against Sydney. In my mind we failed to ‘turn up’ then because issues hadn’t been addressed – in fact there seemed to be denial any problem existed.
Prior to the Sydney game, Scott was adamant we would be ready, and suggested after the match we were ready, when clearly we weren’t. The players trotted out the familiar line about that being what happens if you’re a little off your game. A review may have helped bring out contributing factors.
While writing this I’m keenly aware of the Scott family tragedy following the sudden death of Chris’ brother. By comparison football is trivial. So, this needs to be read in that context. Footy’s just a game we take seriously when there are less important matters to worry about.
If a review had been held last year it would’ve likely been interrupted and/or cancelled by the family loss, so in hindsight you could say it was wise not to have one. My writing of this article was postponed as well.
And I’m not being entirely literal – circumstances in 2006 were vastly different to now. Club history was weighing a lot heavier; issues ran deeper. Call it a review or reflection or refocus – whatever helped pennies drop to prevent trends continuing through to 2017. No doubt, in house, they did have discussions of some sort – whether it was probing enough time will tell.
Speaking of this season…
Will the loss to Sydney be the spur the players are publically claiming, or are they just saying the right words?
I haven’t seen any pre-season hit outs, though they are now even less an indication of real form than in the past. But one statistic has glared from Geelong games – an increase in the number of handballs! I read a report saying we’d been focussing on fast ball movement during the off-season. Mmm. I’ll reserve judgment, but have to admit to being a little concerned.
I’m happy for doubts to be proved unfounded, however.
But the season will be interesting whatever happens – as always – along with anticipation about new recruits and younger players reaching potential.
Ultimately, footy’s a tough gig, which is why players and coaches are so well remunerated. Competition is fierce and premiership success can’t be perennial. All that we hope for is to reach, or aim for, our best – and if our best is good enough, to be at our best when it matters.
A Carlton coach once famously blurted in frustration that, “Fifty percent of footy is half mental” (or words to that effect). We knew what he meant, and not much has changed.