Twelve Months on a Pogo Stick – Part 4

Selection Sensitivity


As the first match gets closer nerves start to jingle; ever so slightly. You know who you have: well they haven’t all signed yet, but they will. There is an intermittent presence from key players but we can’t get a full group together for practice matches. Some one has a hammy, another, a quad and yet another, a knee. I thought everyone had those body parts but the trainers seem to be able to decode the Pidgin English that is being spoken.


A couple of habitual moths (always under the lamp) appear to always be a bit ‘ginger’ on the hard running nights. They think they are getting away with it but they have failed to grasp the reality of the competition for spots. Training nights have thousands of eyes and half as many opinions; all from experts. If you don’t believe me just ask them.


There have been some interlopers who have wandered in for a look but have found the pace a little tough and not returned. This is not entirely a bad thing. Firstly the decision has been made by the potential player based on what they have seen and it clearly indicates that we have moved forward regarding standard in as short a period as twelve months.


Scott Matheson has turned up. This is significant. He has been lured in by one of his mates Craig Stretton. They both played in the golden Burnie Dockers era of five flags in a row. Scott had recently coachedEast Devonportand was notorious for giving us grief with his attack on the ball and steady delivery under pressure at crucial times. Double bonus; not only will he not be doing it to us but he will be doing it for us. Although in his twilight as a player he compliments the strategically picked group of past players who have returned to the club with multi premiership success at a higher level.


Tom Robinson will cross over from Smithton and take on a role as a midfield mentor while recovering from a bone spur removal on his heel. He is an ex Murray Bushranger. We rate him highly. It is pleasing to have good players come to us from competing clubs rather than the opposite paradigm.


There is noticeable concern from some past regular senior players, and their supporters. The issue of some players initially missing out on senior selection is unambiguously a reality. It will need sensitive but firm management. There are already a few whispers but the ultimate objective appears to prevail. The cause is always bigger than the individual. Our cause is now a crusade. Onward Wynyard soldiers…..


In the penultimate week before the first roster match the players are split into three squads: seniors, reserves and unders. There are a few murmurs as some players have missed out on the senior squad. They include a few experienced senior  players and a few younger ones. New, younger players appear to have made the grade in preference. Some connections are upset, some are delighted. There are a few whispers, and phone calls. I offer council but do not get involved beyond a couple of words of encouragement to a couple of aggrieved players. I remember the feeling from yonder years. I have a son that plays and had made a decision some time ago not to get involved in selection issues. I do the first shift on the gate at home games, write the weekly club notes and help in the bar at rush hour after the game. Horses for courses.


We have put together what we believe to be a competent group to run the on field aspect of our club. They are aware that their performances will be reviewed at the appropriate time. Now is not that time. Hard decisions will need to, and will, be made. No pain no gain. The ultimate prize is of such value that this approach is warranted.


On the Tuesday night prior to the first game there are a couple of additions to the senior squad. This is a good result. Good hard working club stalwarts close to the players were genuinely hurt. The players may not be selected in the seniors on Thursday night but realise they are certainly in the mix. The match committee have dodged a bullet. All’s well that ends well.


The final training on Thursday is an uplifting experience for all involved, especially those watching from a situation where, in other years, they were shrouded in despair. The weather is mild the pre, end of daylight saving sunlight is bright, the players in their three groups are sharp and all is well in Wynyard.


Prior to the announcement of the teams some of the senior players speak. A couple of good old fossils from our last premiership thirty three years ago talk about their experiences. The young contemporary players politely listen but it is obvious they don’t have a clue about the reality of the message. Perhaps, just perhaps, they will next year.


Guernseys are presented, well just a pair of socks, the home shorts and the tops have not arrived from the mainland yet. They are a month over due. Next year there will be a new supplier. Teams are announced and if there is disappointment amongst some players it is not apparent. The little ducks are all lined up.


Bring it on.



  1. Tony Robb says

    Gee Phantom
    I can sense the cusp of a dynasty. Lets hope it’s along the lines of JR Ewing rather than Collingwood. Have you got a hard man, the enforcer, the dont mess with him on baller who can lead the kids, and cliches, the premiership glory?

  2. I wish you hadn’t said that Tony.

    I can’t help thinking of the recent Hawthorn and Collingwood dynasties.

    But a Wynyard dynasty based on a single flag would be a start I suppose.

  3. Goodluck to your boys Phantom, is your son in this team?

  4. “A couple of good old fossils from our last premiership thirty three years ago talk about their experiences.”
    Were they out on good behaviour for torching the grandstand and GBH on the umpire’s wife?

  5. Danni,

    he’s the one doing the Tom Hawkins impersonation in Part 2.


    it is better to have a chequered history than none at all.

    What would have been the response to bad umpiring in SA when you were a lad? The headlines in the Crow Chronicle in your time may read ‘Pie Floaters Thrown At Umpire In Pink Hotpants”

  6. gee he’s a strong mark :)
    does he always play upforward?

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