Confidence: A big year in a young footballer’s life

 

 

Daniel Boss was born into a rugby league-mad family and had no option but to follow the game. It was compulsory! He has been a Wests Tigers member for over 10 years, despite never living in Sydney. His final season as a player was 2005, a very important year for him in terms of his connection to rugby league and for his personal development. In this frank and honest account, Daniel takes us through his final season playing junior rugby league in Orange.  

 

Confidence. It’s the one word that has resonated throughout my life. To be honest, a lack of confidence has held me back in multiple aspects of my life. Growing up in Orange with this lack of confidence had its challenges, but in my last few years living there, I started to turn it all around.

 

The year is 2005, I turned 16 in January and I was in Year 11. Only two years to go before heading to uni and life was good. In the past year, I had become more popular at school, as I was more confident to show more of my personality. I never wanted to be the most popular person but it was good that more people enjoyed my company. As it turns out, the source of this confidence came from expressing my love of rugby league and, in particular, the mighty Wests Tigers. On any casual clothes day, I’d bring out the Tigers jersey and on any Monday after they won the preceding weekend, no one could shut me up. As the majority of people in New South Wales above Wagga loved one of the rugby codes, most of the people I went to school with could relate to me. On a side note, I did feel for one of my mates who was a big AFL fan. Boy, did we give him some stick over those years. He was a champ for not getting angry at us.

 

In addition to starting Year 11 in 2005, this was also the last year that I knew that I would play for Orange CYMS (previously known as St Joseph’s-Sheahan). I concentrated on studies the following year and gave rugby union a try, as there was no Under17s competition in rugby league in the Central West. This was somewhat personal for me as my grandfather was the first president of the junior club, both my father and older brother had played for the club, and my younger brother was starting out. As Dad coached my younger brother’s team, I would have to travel with Mum to all the away games this year. It was probably a good call by Dad as I am now well retired, while my younger brother was in the under 18s and 20s squads for Penrith for a couple of years.

 

Much like my social life, my biggest issue as a football player was confidence. It was due to a combination of a lack of self-belief and fear of getting hurt. To be completely honest, I don’t know how I played rugby league for so many years. I think my teammates could tell that I was a bit timid and I wasn’t the most popular player as a result. I don’t blame them as I wasn’t willing to put my body on the line as much as they were. However, this was starting to change over the past couple of years and the second half to my Under 15s season in 2004 was good. My increased confidence at school was translating to the football field. I secured a wing position and was quite safe when kicks came my way. The team was also in good form having won about 10 or 11 straight before heading into the Grand Final. As for the decider, it simply didn’t go our way. It remained the hardest loss I have ever had to take in a sporting contest – up until 2005.

 

Heading into the Under 16s season, we were confident that we could finally get the monkey off our back and win a premiership. I was feeling positive because we had a big addition to the team. This guy was in the same year as me in school and I had known him for a while. He also played a bit of school footy and is one of the most athletically gifted people I have ever encountered. He was slated for a centre position which meant that there was even more pressure for me to play well to retain my spot on the wing. However, I was confident that I could do that.

 

The pre-season training started in early February and it was certainly quite warm. We were put through our paces as well. This included a new warm-up routine: a 1.6 kilometre run at the start of every training session. Fitness was not going to be an issue for us this year. The only detailed memory I have of pre-season training that year was that it was the closest I have ever come to throwing up as a result of sprints. This was while we were doing 10 lots of 40-metre sprints. Pete was barking out orders, telling us to run faster and to hurry up. Oh, did I forget to mention that Peter Mortimer was one of my coaches? Well, he was and I played with his son, Daniel, who has gone on to play over 100 First Grade games, including two Grand Finals and winning one with the Roosters in 2013. This is my one claim to fame in terms of my rugby league career and I milk all I can from it. Mort would have played against my younger brother this year, had the season not been cancelled.

 

Our first pre-season trials came in the form of the Red Bend carnival in Forbes. Our half-back originally came from Forbes and his family’s connections gave us an opportunity to play there. For the first game, I was named to start on one wing. Overall, our side mostly resembled our team from the previous year’s Grand Final. Early in the game I returned a kick and copped a solid hit to the side of the head. I felt a little dazed but ok and was able to get through the rest of the first half. I was replaced at half-time as we had an abundance of wingers. We were able to win that game and the next two in spite of my play. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t catch a cold.

 

In between games, I kept practising catching high balls and couldn’t drop a ball. It was bizarre! It wasn’t helping that I had this headache getting continually worse as the day went on. I put it down to dehydration or lack of sleep as it was an early start. I was given one last show of faith by the coaches and named to start on the wing for the last game against Red Bend. This game would decide who would win the round robin and we wanted our strongest team for this game.

 

My catching issues came to the fore again. Thankfully, it had no impact on the game as we won comfortably. It didn’t help that, during the last game, I was seeing stars. Somehow I was able to drive part of the way back home to put on more time while on my ‘L’ plates and I fell asleep quite early that night. It was a weird night as I woke up several times with a headache which lingered for most of the next day. Looking back, I realised that I should not have played on after getting that hit to the head. It’s the only time I’ve ever had a concussion. I’m not using it as an excuse for my poor play, it’s just that I now know the long-term side effects. Thankfully, I have not experienced any of these.

 

I quickly recovered from the head knock and was good to go for the second batch of trial games at our home carnival in Orange. I always enjoyed playing in these carnivals as it was usually a nice, warm day, we didn’t have to travel far and it always had an exciting feel to it as it truly felt like the start of the season. I don’t remember a lot about this carnival aside from the fact that we won all of our games again and I came out of the day with a nice shiner on my left eye. I wore this with pride over the next week and I was happy to show it off at school. I was even able to impress (or more likely accept pity from) some of my female friends – not to be confused with girlfriends as I was very much a bachelor in my high school days.

 

The next carnival, the Group 10 carnival, involved the last trial games before the season proper. This time the games were in Mudgee, a good two and a half hours drive away. This meant that it would be a long day, so Mum and I got a lift with a teammate and his mum. I’d played a fair bit of cricket and footy with this teammate, so we all knew each other reasonably well. Again, there wasn’t a lot to remember about this carnival aside from winning all of our games up until the last one. Our rivals, Bloomfield, had beaten us in the previous two Grand Finals and had won every premiership from Under 10s to Under 15s.

 

It was my first chance to play against my best friend at school this season, who was playing for Bloomfield after being poached from us a couple of years earlier. We were both starting on the bench so it was likely that we would meet up sometime during the game. That didn’t eventuate as the competitiveness of the game got the better of both coaches. Neither he nor I got any game time. Bloomfield won by a small margin but I was a little annoyed. I actually met up with him at the Wellington McDonalds on the way home and I knew that he was angry.

 

That turned out to be the last day he played for Bloomfield as he left them to play rugby union. I know he really wanted to come back to play for us but he knew he couldn’t after ‘defecting’. I joined him in rugby union the following year and was glad that I could have one more season of sport with him before moving from Orange. Also on the way home, I listened to the Warriors-Tigers game on the radio, which the Tigers won. This meant that they had won three on the trot and were in the top four. Go you Tigers!

 

The first match of the regular season was a home game against Bathurst Panthers. They were never the strongest team but they were no pushovers. We were quite confident given our strong trial form. However, we lost our gun fullback a day or two before the game and I was starting at fullback in his place. While I was somewhat excited by the opportunity, I was mostly nervous as I had never played fullback before. Then I was told before the game that a few people were very interested to see how I played, including the coach for the James Sheahan Under 16s school team. I honestly didn’t need the pressure and it showed as I had a poor first half. My lack of experience at fullback was exposed as I was caught out of position a couple of times and was deservedly replaced at half-time. We won the game but I wasn’t overly happy with how I played. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be put at fullback for the rest of the season. As a result, I was left out of the school side. I was quite down for a couple of days but then I decided to focus solely on playing for the club side as we had a big game in Round 2.

 

The second game was against arch rivals Bloomfield. I was left out of the starting side and didn’t play in the first half. Given the events of the past week, I was chomping at the bit to get on the field and was put on a wing. It was my best performance all season and I felt good after playing for the entire second half. As for the team, we lost and the game almost turned into fisticuffs on a number of occasions. I was also called back into the school side after this game, as a few players were needed. This gave me a much needed boost of confidence.

 

The next couple of weeks were mixed for me. The third round of the season was in Mudgee where I was again put to fullback (I’m not sure why) and where, again, I struggled. We were getting beaten, the referee was losing control of the game and this match almost turned into fisticuffs as well. That’s country rugby league for you! Anyway, Pete decided to take us off the field as he had no faith in the referee. I was particularly angry with the ref as I thought that he gave Mudgee a leg-up throughout the game and it frustrated me quite a bit. As a result of this, Pete was banned from the sideline for our next game, which was against Blayney.

 

In the Blayney game, I started on the bench. After the controversy of the Mudgee game made the local papers, we put in our best performance of the season. I was put in the forwards in the second half and scored a try by accelerating into a gap from a hit-up. I had never experienced that before and it was a great feeling. Overall, this day would be as good as it got. I also went to a party which most of my grade at school would attend. It was the first time that I had been invited to such a party and, for me, it was really good to have everyone happy to see me there and want to have a chat and just spend time with me. At this point, I was in a really good place and was feeling quite confident about myself.

 

In Round 5, we won by forfeit as Kandos did not make the trip down to Orange. Before the Round 6 match, I played in the final of the Darren Britt Shield school competition. This competition meant a little more to me as my maternal grandmother was a Britt – which means that I am related to Darren. We were up against Orange High. This time the venue was Wade Park, the big ground at Orange, and played on a Thursday night. This would be my last game at Wade Park and I loved playing under lights.

 

My grandmother lived across the road from the ground and, as a kid, I would always see the big grandstand and wonder what it would be like to play there. I didn’t have much success at the ground, including losing both the Under 11s and Under 15s Grand Finals. On this occasion, I started from the bench as I offered a fair bit of utility value, so long as I was not put back to fullback. I went on late in the first half at hooker but did nothing of note until after half-time. The game was in a bit of a lull and we were up by about 10 with about ten minutes to go. I saw an opportunity down the blind side as the Orange High winger was isolated and I thought I could beat him one-on-one. However, as I was going for the line, he was able to get under my rib cage and was driving me into touch. I was able to get the ball free and flung it back on the inside as I saw a teammate, who was surrounded by three Orange High players. The ball bounced off my teammate’s chest, but he regathered it over the line to score the game-clinching try. I remember going to the trainer, my favourite teacher at school, who asked me how I managed to do that. I just shrugged my shoulders as it was a bit of a fluke. Anyway, I was pleased to get a win in my last game at Wade Park.

 

After that win, there was a big away game against Cowra. The previous time I played in Cowra, I was on the wing and copped abuse from an elderly woman. Again, that’s country rugby league for you! Honestly, I was just hoping that we could get up and then get back to Orange. While Cowra is a nice town, the ground we were playing at wasn’t overly flash. They didn’t even have dressing sheds so we had to get changed out in the open. Prior to this game, our coach – the one that wasn’t Pete Mortimer – asked me if I was keen to play hooker. I had played there up until Under 14s but he wanted to move me out of the position as my beanpole body shape wasn’t suited for such a role. Given our depth on the wings, the coach was looking to trial a dual hooker system with an aggressive and stronger teammate starting both halves and the more creative and controlling hooker, yours truly, playing the back end of each half. I was happy to do this as I enjoyed the role and, given that we had so many wingers, I was only getting half a game anyway.

 

I played a little of the first half but the team didn’t need me a great deal as we were quite dominant. I came on again quite early in the second half, scored a try from dummy half and was having a good game. A couple of sets after I scored, Cowra ran the ball on the last tackle about 20 metres out from our line. I came in to help make the tackle and copped a swinging hand fair in the nose from a teammate who was also making the tackle. I could tell that there was a bit of bleeding there. I tried to continue and went to hooker for a few tackles before the ref noticed. I went to the sideline looking for something to blow on as it wasn’t a big bleed and I wanted to keep playing. I remember saying, “I’ll even use a hankie.” In fact, I said, “Can someone give me a hankie?” Anyway, I was replaced and someone did give me tissues – not quite a hankie but it still did the job. I certainly received a fair bit of grief over my comments and even Mum made fun of me on the drive back home.

 

The next game was in Orange against Lithgow and I would again play the back end of each half at hooker. Given the big win over Cowra the week before, we were feeling quite confident and played well again, cruising to a big win. I scored a 50 metre try after receiving a freakish offload. All I had to do was run 50 metres, beat the fullback and score in the corner. My grandfather was able to watch this game and he was very impressed with the amount of flair we showed in the game. It was nice that he got to see me play when I was probably in the best form of my ‘career’. Then we played in Bathurst where we won again to make it five wins in a row. I don’t remember anything from this game aside from the fact that I got there really early and spent some time at Maccas with two of my better mates in the team.

 

Winning five in a row gave us a lot of confidence heading into another game against rivals Bloomfield. The game was at home and, with the fiery nature of our first meeting, the club brought in a referee from Sydney, I believe. He was certainly paid and he even had radio communication with the touch judges. This was a big deal for junior country rugby league. Anyway, we lost Mort for this game due to injury so that meant that someone had to come into the halves. That someone was me. I started at half-back which pushed our usual half-back to five-eighth. My role was simply to direct the team around, just as I would at hooker, and give the backs time and space with ball in hand. The game was tightly fought with several lead changes. I played at half-back up until early in the second half, as I was given a rest so that I could come back on to finish the game at hooker. I went on with about ten minutes to go and the game was locked up. It was still locked up with a couple of minutes to go and our usual half-back, not me for the record, kicked a 45-metre match-winning field goal. It is still the best drop kick I have ever seen in person, it was hit that sweetly. This game was filmed and we all got a copy of it, so I can watch it again and again.

 

Our Round 10 game was against Mudgee, this time in Orange and I was starting at half-back again. I played the full game and went pretty well. I decided that I needed to take on the defensive line a bit more to take a bit of pressure off the other backs. This worked early in the game as I did cross for a try. However, it backfired later in the half when I bombed a certain try by not sending it wide when we had a big overlap. Regardless of this missed opportunity, we were able to get another win to make it seven in a row. We won the next game in Blayney but nothing overly memorable happened. Sorry, Blayney, I can’t remember everything that happened 15 years ago.

 

I remember the Round 12 game as it involved a trip to Kandos. Mum and I got a lift with my best mate in the team and his father who I had known for quite a long time. I think most of the conversation (or at least a fair chunk of it) revolved around the Wests Tigers as both my mate and his dad were die-hards too. I did feel somewhat sorry for Mum. I say somewhat as she’s a Dragons supporter, so I can only have so much sympathy. We were all excited over the prospect of watching them play in the finals for the first time since 1990 – we were all former Balmain supporters as well.

 

I haven’t mentioned the Tigers since the early part of the season. At this point, the Tigers were in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that would propel them into the finals. As for the game against Kandos, we were able to get a comfortable win but we did lose one player for the rest of the season with a sickening broken arm. It was probably the worst-looking injury I ever saw while playing rugby league. I’m not surprised it happened at Kandos as the ground was just awful. You would have been lucky to spot a patch of green grass on the whole field.

 

The second last game of the season turned out to be the last game a lot of the team would play at Norton Park. I had played there since I was eight, so it was a big occasion for me. I always had visions that my best game there would be my last. The day was miserable and we were without a few of our best players who were on rep duty. I was moved to half-back but this time I had more responsibility – we were playing Cowra and a win here would cement a top two finish. We started the game on a roll and scored a couple of early tries. For one of them, I put one of our props through the line with a good short ball and he was good enough to finish it off. However, as the first half went on, we went off the boil a bit. I wasn’t able to control the direction of the side as well as I should have and, at one point, I cost the team a try as I gave the ball to a teammate to put in a kick while my teammates expected a kick from me and they were offside as a result. The second half was a pretty dour affair. We were able to score a couple of tries and scraped through for a win. It was a little disappointing that my last game at home didn’t go as I imagined. Still, I was happy with the win, our 10th in a row.

 

The last game before the finals was in Lithgow where the Grand Final would be played. As some of our players missed the previous week’s game, the coach wanted them to earn their places in the starting team. Pete had different ideas and as he was in charge for the game, our best team was sent out to start. I think that Pete was right given that the finals were a week away, but he did make one interesting selection. He started me at hooker and left our usual starter on the bench. I didn’t agree with this move as I thought we would need his aggressiveness early in each half and my cooler head later on. We won as we were a much stronger team but something seemed to be not quite right. Maybe the issue with team selection put a few players off, I wasn’t quite sure. Anyway, this was our last chance to win a premiership as a team, so we were focused at training the next week, excited about playing Bloomfield for a chance to make the Grand Final.

 

The major and minor semi-finals were played in Blayney that year. We had lost all three previous finals games we played there. Despite this poor record, we were still confident of victory, especially given that we had won the last game against the Tigers. Yes, our rival side were known as the Tigers, ironic because I was, and still am, a Wests Tigers tragic. I must say that I did feel conflicted at times in hating a team with such an awesome mascot.

 

As for the game itself, we were back to the usual strategy as I started from the bench. The first 15 minutes of the game were quite tough with a few of my teammates copping some heavy knocks. However, the momentum of the game was definitely with Bloomfield. When I went on after those first 15 minutes, I could tell that things weren’t right. In attack, everyone was quiet and, in the first set, I gave one of our props a bit of a hospital ball in disorganised play. He suffered a back injury and it turned out that that run would be his last for the club after having played for them since he was six or seven. It wasn’t an overly serious injury, thankfully, but it kept him out of the next couple of games.

 

We were able to regain some momentum in the back end of the first half. I’d like to think that my cool head at hooker helped with this but, regardless, we went into the break slightly down. The second half was quite a blur but, from what I do remember, it was a tough game. We found ourselves with a slight lead with only a few minutes to go. One of Bloomfield’s best players, who was also a mate of mine from school, was taking a run. I didn’t have much left in the tank but I braced myself to put a good tackle on him and, for some reason, my right foot slipped out from under me. I had essentially tripped over my own feet. I held his jersey with one hand but he was strong enough to break through and, from that run, Bloomfield scored and went on to win the game. I’ve never taken a loss so hard in my life as I felt incredibly guilty for not being able to make that tackle. I sat in the changerooms for a long time after the game just staring into space. It took me several days to get over it. It was brought up at school during the next week which didn’t help, either. There’s nothing like a country upbringing to keep you humble.

 

I had to recover quickly for the Preliminary Final the following week. We played against Cowra to see who would meet Bloomfield in the Grand Final. While it was good to play one more game at Carrington Park, it meant that I could not go to the first game of the 2005 NRL finals the night before, where the Tigers thumped the Cowboys 50-6! Go you Tigers!

 

About ten minutes into the game, our half-back copped a hit and had to come off. I was rushed onto the field to cover for him for a fair portion of the first half. Then I moved to hooker when the half-back was good enough to come back into the game. We were up at half-time, having been the better side, but we were not at our best. We improved in the second half to clinch the game but there was plenty of improvement required if we were to win the next game. Still, we had one more chance to win a premiership and one more game against the old rival. This would be one more clash of two good sides, two rivals and both pretty much at full strength.

 

Or so we thought. At our first training session before the Grand Final, we found out that our half-back would be no good to play, as he injured himself playing in the school Rugby team the day before. This meant that someone had to fill in at half-back. That someone was me. This meant that in my last game for Orange CYMS, I would be starting in the halves alongside a future NRL premiership winner, as Mort was the five-eighth. It was somewhat fitting as Mort and I were the only two players in the Grand Final team from the first team I played in at the age of eight.

 

While I was quite nervous about having to start a Grand Final at half-back, I saw it as an opportunity to lead a team to a premiership. The first training run was quite good and I felt more confident about my role in the team. However, the second training session of the week had a bad feeling to it. We weren’t as urgent, there was a lot of dropped ball and, at times, confusion reigned. Maybe the rest of the team no longer believed in us because our half-back was out. To be honest, it was a big blow as he was such a good player. That said, I hadn’t lost a game when I had started at half-back, so I hoping that this trend would continue.

 

The Grand Final between two Orange sides was played in Lithgow. A lot of people from school were disappointed as they were interested in seeing the game but a two-hour car trip was too much for most of them. My mate who had left Bloomfield earlier in the year decided to come along and we gave him a lift there. I was fairly relaxed for most of the trip but nerves did settle in for the last half-hour. Shortly after arriving, we headed into the dressing sheds to get changed. Our starting half-back came up to me and gave me his number 7 jersey. We both sat down and had a little chat where told me that he believed that I was good enough to lead the side to victory. It was quite moving. Having said that, if I had my time over, I would not have accepted it as the number on the back doesn’t matter as much as the role that players have in a team. Anyway, we went out for our warm-up and even though we seemed focused, something just seemed off. At least something was off in my head. I think I was just realising that this was the last time that I would do this and it was somewhat overwhelming. The other noticeable thing was the huge breeze that would favour one side. We lost the toss and Bloomfield had the breeze for the first half.

 

To put it simply, Bloomfield came out with more intensity than we did. We let in a pretty easy try as they took advantage of an overlap, the result of a defensive error on my part. For the rest of the half, things just didn’t go our way. Our forward pack was being dominated, we couldn’t gain any territory from our kicking game and we even lost a scrum. In rugby league! I remember we tried to target their wingers as they were their biggest weakness.  On one occasion in the first half, I drilled a kick that was bouncing and wobbling everywhere but, even with the unpredictable bounce, an opposition winger was able to gather the ball easily. Even though we were completely dominated in the first half, we were only down 16-0. If we scored first in the second half, we were back in the game with a strong breeze at our back.

 

We got an opportunity early in the second half. We had a scrum feed near halfway. I made sure that I put the ball in correctly so we wouldn’t lose this feed, but… it’s hard to bring this up. Anyway, we lost another feed to the scrum and Bloomfield scored a try to seal the game in that set. I was shattered. Later in the half, we were able to get some field position and during the set I got the ball. Nothing was on. I broke free from one tackle, did a spin move thingy, saw a gap and dived to score a try to get us on the board. If that was my last touch playing for Orange CYMS, it wouldn’t have been a bad one. However, my last touch was off the following kick-off as the ball held up in the wind and I ran about five metres before getting tackled. I was taken off a minute later. For the last 10 to 15 minutes of the game, I sat on the bench just reminiscing about all the games I had played with the team while, at the same time, being disappointed over the result. We were able to score a couple more tries but it was to no avail. It was very quiet after the game but we did organise to meet up that night.

 

On the way back, my mate who travelled with me to the game asked what I was doing that night and I mentioned the get-together to him. He asked if he could come along. To be honest, I felt a little uneasy as I knew some members of the team were still angry with him leaving to go to Bloomfield. However, I knew that he enjoyed his time playing for us more and that he realised that he shouldn’t have left. So I didn’t feel too bad over this. In fact, he did mention that to the rest of the team that night. As for the night itself, it was a highly enjoyable and fun night as we all were in each other’s company one last time.

 

The next evening was our Presentation Night, which was literally the last time we were all together as a team. It was somewhat sad, especially as we didn’t win a premiership. Awards were given out. I wasn’t expecting one which meant that I was quite stunned after receiving the Most Improved award. I definitely credit this to a higher level of self-confidence, which meant that the coaches had more faith in me as well. I’m sure that in previous years I would have been one of the last players that they would have put at half-back for a Grand Final. I had come a long way and I’d go from strength to strength after that point.

 

Two weeks after that Presentation Night, I was on top of the world as the Wests Tigers, led by a brilliant Benji Marshall flick pass, won the premiership. It certainly made up for the cruel loss two weeks earlier. This game occurred during the school holidays and I think most people at school were absolutely devastated that the Tigers won because it meant that I was just a pain to be around for a long while after.

 

Thinking back to that time, I think I somewhat took for granted all the good times I enjoyed while playing rugby league. In particular, all the friendships. We had been friends for years and got on just great. It may seem like I’m exaggerating here, and I may be looking back with rose-tinted glasses, but playing with this group of guys was one of the best things about growing up in Orange. I’ll certainly hold on to these memories for the rest of my life.

 

It has been 15 years since my last season of rugby league. It is August 2020 and life sure is different. I’m currently confined to my apartment in Melbourne as the city grapples with this horrific virus. Rugby league only has a niche following down here and I am more aware of other sports around the world. However, rugby league is still Number 1. This is despite the lack of success that the Tigers have had – unless you consider finishing 9th to be a success. It’s been a tough decade supporting the Tigers, which can be summed up by watching James Tedesco be the best player in the world at the Roosters. Well, at least Benji came back.

 

As for my teammates, I’ve seen most of them at some stage when I’ve been back to Orange. A fair few of them have kids, others have moved away like me. I know I likely won’t see most of them ever again, but that’s life. Everything I gained during 2005, most of it related to rugby league, and especially the increased confidence, has carried through to today. Having this confidence, to steal a line from Dad, is half the battle.

 

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Comments

  1. I enjoyed your journey through that formative year, Daniel. I particularly liked the balance you showed in evaluating your own performances and the honesty of your emotional repossess to the various ups and downs. You may have been young but you were wise enough to draw out the lessons to be learned about both the game and life. Best wishes as you battle the lockdown in Melbourne.

  2. Matt O'Hanlon says

    Great yarn Daniel. So many country blokes have the same memory and more have the memory of losing or not making grand finals than those that win. My last junior game in my country town ended in a loss to our traditional rivals by a point and I can still see my attempt at goal from the George St touchline to win the game fading left. No one else remembers except my good mate and star fullback who urged a ball over the touch line that didn’t make it and allowed the try to put our rivals in front. We have the uneasy truce of shared disappointment from a game in 1980. Your yarn will resonate with many. Like Ian I am enjoying beautiful Queensland Gold Coast weather (albeit at work) and hope the Victorian situation can soon be on the improve for all of us.

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