Local Footy: The Coaching Caper Rolls On

There are now 4 games to go in the season up in Central Queensland, and some things haven’t changed. Yeppoon haven’t lost a game, the pack are frantically thinking just how can we get close let alone beat this machine, and I’m starting to get the hang of the whole coaching caper…..well maybe not the last bit. Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on the second part of the season, with the first being found at….

Almanac Local Footy – AFL Capricornia: I love this coaching caper!

 

ROUND 6: HOME vs BITS, Lost 4.5-11.8

 

I’d love to be able to say I made a massive contribution to this result, but unfortunately I was in Durban, South Africa, preparing for a tilt at the Comrades Marathon and only found the result of the match after doing the South Beach Parkrun with close to 3000 others.

 

ROUND 7: @ GLADSTONE, Lost 4.3-23.14

 

One of those seemingly normal road trips where finding enough players to put a side on the paddock is a struggle, especially when I was unable to help on the field as I was still in recovery mode from Comrades. We basically played the second half with 15 players (16 a side in Reserves in this league) and struggled to cut the supply to their big forward who kicked 11. At least we competed well in the last quarter as they played some lesser lights and we got some reasonable supply to our makeshift forward line.

 

One lesson I did learn from this game was that it would have been better to let the previous recipient of the Mug (generally given to a player who did well, sought after on bus trips as they often are well looked after in the beverage department) decide who should get it next rather than to make the decision by committee. Unfortunately the player we chose wasn’t much of a beer drinker and battled to make it to the bus in reasonable shape. Given that the senior team won at Gladstone for the first time in ages, it was a pretty decent night for the lads on the way home. Which brings me to lesson number 2, when you volunteer to wash jumpers after the game make sure you have the right bag. Instead of reserve grade jumpers I managed to get the senior bag, and didn’t find out until the Monday.

 

ROUND 8: vs YEPPOON, Lost 0.0-28.14

 

Numbers on the park didn’t improve for this game (we had to rely on a couple of senior players to double up just to have a team, and we still only had 15), and against the top side who always have more players than is required to fill 2 teams that spells disaster. During the game a young player from the opposition asked if we were short and I answered accordingly. He suggested that we should play more Under 17’s but at the time only 3 were eligible to play and with one in the senior side and having the other 2 already on the ground I tried to explain to him that nobody else was available for a second outing post their Under 17’s game.

 

Plonked myself into the middle and was befuddled by trying to work out their centre square set plays which were coded by beers. Also found myself covered in mud on the one weekend where I didn’t pack a towel, where despite a dry day in Rockhampton there was a leaking sprinker causing an area at one end at Centre Half Back for us to be a slushy mud pit. Someone in the crowd took a picture of my knee slide into said area that I’m sure will get a laugh on presentation night. In the end it was one of those days where it probably wouldn’t have mattered if we had a full side, for they probably have too much talent to match and also have a game plan that they developed throughout a pre-season when most of our players often front a few weeks prior to the season starting.

 

ROUND 9: vs PANTHERS, Lost 9.10-12.8

 

Couldn’t believe that we had a full team, leading to me having to purchase a chair from K-Mart the night before the game so I’d have somewhere to sit to watch from the sidelines. One of the players was even handed a debut at 3/4 time of the Under 17s when another was struggling with a hamstring problem. For the first time all season I was able to try to implement some sort of strategy when it came to centre bounces, playing half forwards up on a wing and starting with 4 up front. If I had spent so much time trying to work out the right match up in the back 6 rather than allowing the players to take ownership that I had done all year, perhaps the lapses in the first quarter would have been avoided meaning that we would have had a lead instead of being equal at the first change. By the time I had sorted out the match ups they had a narrow lead midway through the second quarter.

 

Having a full bench at least meant that injuries wouldn’t have as much of an impact as they did in previous weeks. That said losing the experienced Cam Wyatt to an Achilles issue didn’t help, given many of our side lacked experience. Others were hoping they’d get more of a run than their previous appearance, when the stand in coach used them sparingly. Unlike in the AFL system rotations aren’t player driven and half the job on match day tends to by used by making changes and deciding who should go on and off at any one time. Having a runner would also help, but often finding one that is willing to do the job can be problematic (having one that knows what they’re meant to do would also be an advantage that one day we’d like to have).

 

At the three quarter time huddle the main message was about desire and wanting to win, knowing that the deficit at the time was manageable. Sadly for us our issue was cleanliness below the knees which cost us at least 3 goals, the last of which caused the frustration to reach the levels of Clarkson, Eade, Buckley or whatever struggling coach you can name to boil to the surface. Perhaps smashing a coaches board against a post isn’t the best reaction when it may have been better to throw a water bottle into the ground, but it was a release that was needed at the time so that I wouldn’t take it out on the playing group post match. Following the loss I made a conscious effort to stress that the issue that we had today as a team was more to do with execution and concentration rather than a lack of talent or application towards playing the game in general. Yet I couldn’t really hide the disappointment in the voice addressing the players knowing this was an opportunity that we let slip.

 

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.

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