PASSION TEAMWORK FUN RESPECT
Richard asked me to pop down to training and talk with the U18 Girls about Grand Final week and what it may look like. I asked the girls a simple question: WHY DO THEY CALL IT A GRAND FINAL? The answer I received from Tessa Beach was spot on, she said it was a celebration of the entire season, the last chance to see who is the best team. I mentioned it is sometimes confronting knowing that this will be the last time the team will play together ever again, it will never be the same or coached by the same people ever, so make the most of it.
I told them I was going to a 25-year reunion on Saturday of a premiership team that we won in 93. I told them that reunions only happen when you win and that bonds will be forged forever. I believe Richard’s ladies will have that bond after this Sunday, we wish them well. LePage Park in Cheltenham at 4.25pm is the venue.
I bang on all season about how great our coaches are, but I truly believe it. Each week I watch the signs of player engagement with coaches, listen to the words of encouragement and education, I know a good coach from a poor coach and I witnessed plenty of good coaching and in a few cases great coaching yesterday.
As a coach that has been to the Grand Final many times I understand the weight of expectation, the one from players, parents, supporters and club members, however the biggest weight of expectation is always from within. I shook Damien Garlick’s hand moments after he and Rodney Block had lead our U11 Purple team all the way only to fall a kick short. Damo had a look I know all too well, I felt for him and his great little team yesterday, every boy gave their all. It’s a pity some days that there is a winner and loser. Great work Damo & Rod, you guys are truly GREAT!!
Special mention to Harry, Gideon and Zac off half back was fantastic.
I missed the first 10 minutes of the U14 D4 prelim that started at 9.00am, so when I arrived at Turner Road we were in front of CHOGS by 7 points, the ball was played in the midfield and the only scoring was rushed behinds, the half back line was working OT, Max Morris and Sam Palmer leading the way and many brave moments were witnessed. Griffo called for one last effort at 3/4 time and the lads dug deep. The siren went and the dream of playing in the GF was over. I am very proud of this age group at Rovers, they have done it tough trying to field 2 teams week in week out. Well done to both Griffo and Trent, coaches, Tim and Nige as TMs, these boys are lucky to have you guys doing what you do, great to hear the afternoon with the Zebs lads went well and that U15 merge in 2019 is looking positive.
Back at Boss James, our U17 lads were confident, Miranda our trusty TM less so. Her pacing back and forth was starting to wear a hole in the carpet inside the social rooms, her smile hid the concern of what will happen if her beloved team lose as this could be the last day her family experience junior footy ever. I watched the 60 metre chain of players enter the arena, 28 players I counted, a group of mates that have been well coached and were ready for a physical game.
After 5 minutes I could tell that our beloved TM could breathe a little, after another 10 minutes it was obvious her boys were on the way to the BIG DANCE next Sunday. Ben Marron had a belter, so did Ferg. Congratulations Jesse and Tom, your day went from good to great quick, now let’s go even the score with Bentleigh next Sunday at McKinnon Reserve at 3.00pm.
Our U16 D1 team, trained at RESA Park, home of the St Kilda FC on Sunday Morning. Macca took the lads through some craft inside and game sense outside, these boys play Vamps at 10.30am on Boss James. These two teams have history, plenty of talent on both sides, if you want to see great footy played at full tilt, come on down for this one.
The committees of both Zebbies and Rovers wish all three sides the very best this weekend. The Merge teams of U16 and 17 and plenty of Zebbie young ladies in the Rover U18 teams tells me we have the model right, kids playing the game they love, win, lose or draw. I am proud of these young people and our clubs that work hard to support them.