U14 DIV 1 Coach’s Report – 2013 Wrap Up

Team : Under 14 Division 1
Sponsor: Highett Dental Group

Trophy Winners

Best and Fairest Tied:- Adam Schaeche and Cam Hodges
Runner Up Best and Fairest Tied:- Seb Williams 
Best Team Player:- Alby Lynn
Most Courageous:- Max Lohan
Coach’s Award:- Jack Smart

“PRIDE” – it’s the word that describes the overwhelming feeling I have about the boys and how they played their 2013 season at Hampton Rovers.

We ended up playing in the Preliminary final and narrowly losing to Beaumaris, but the boys were simply fantastic. When you are told by a 5 time AFL Premiership player (and opposition Coach of Beaumaris – Dermott Brereton) that our team plays the most exciting and attractive brand of football in the competition – then you know, as a team, we were doing something right.
We started the year with pre-season training at the beach and then Linton Street in the sweltering heat. We were then very fortunate to use the Haileybury grounds – thanks to Gabe Martino and eventually go onto the home of the Rovers – the best ground in Victoria – David Street. What Lou and I realised very early on was that we would have to play a certain style of game to be competitive in Div 1. Our issue was always going to be “size” – we were always going to be the smallest team in the SMJFL. It’s a funny thing how young men grow at different rates – and we hadn’t quite got there yet as far as height went (with some notable exceptions). It certainly didn’t matter as I truly believe we had the best skilled team in the league – and this is how we set out to play our style of footy. So we believed in “The Power of S” – Spread, Support, Switch, Speed and that’s what we set out to achieve all year.
I think the boys may have actually got sick of me talking about “Spread & Support” – but we had a single message all year and to the boys credit – they developed their games and stuck to this plan. It was fantastic to watch them execute on this game plan – as it was simply the best and most attractive style of footy played in our competition. 
Some thanks from me to all those that helped during this season – and it starts with every parent who willingly chipped in for the regular duties and support during the season. A massive thanks to each and every one of you. Next – the team that dedicates itself to coaching and getting the kids on the ground each week. To John Campigli and Ash Roberts who regularly ran for us, as well as my eldest son Tom who had a few cameo appearances in the Runners bib – thanks guys – you were fantastic and I know for a fact that with the number of rotations that we put through each game – you were also the fittest runners in the league!!! To Jamie Smart – the best Doc in the game – a massive thanks to you for your calming advice and brilliant care of our boys each time there was an injury or a “niggle” needed taping or icing – you were brilliant and the boys were incredibly lucky to have someone with your credentials as their team trainer.
Next to Paul Lohan – as I think I said last year – the BEST manager any Coach could wish to have. It is seamless every week. Everything is coordinated without fuss and I cannot thank Paul enough for his work over the past two years as Manager of this team – we have all been extraordinarily fortunate to have Paul running the admin side of this team. Thanks mate – just an unbelievable job!!!
A huge thanks to Lou Folino as Assistant Coach – who is just the most sensational guy to stand next to during a game of footy. He is insightful and has been brilliant during the year and his genuine teaching of the boys at training has to be seen to be truly appreciated – Thanks Louey – you are a star. Next to Jake McMahon. I want to mention Jake separately as he has now been assisting Lou and I for two years, and took on the incredibly difficult role of coordinating rotations and setting the team up to ensure that every one of our boys got the maximum game time all year. He has helped the boys at training and before every game and has a fantastic bond with the boys. Thanks mate – awesome job and I hope you remain connected with this group of boys over the upcoming years.
Finally to all the parents and your wonderful young men for allowing me the privilege to be involved in some very small way in their development over the past year (and two years for some). I think this group of boys can develop into an amazing footy team if they choose to stick together, but more importantly  – a terrific group of mates. To those families that have joined our club this year – you have been amazing and the boys have slotted in beautifully. Those families that are Rovers veterans – thanks again for your support. One more opportunity to say thanks at the Presentation night – which I believe is at 4:00pm on Sunday September 8th at the club rooms – and I know that Paul will confirm in a later email. 
I wish every parent could have looked through my eyes at every one of these fantastic young men’s faces looking at me with such passion and desire to play the very best football they could play and commit themselves for the next 20 minutes of football at every break. That moment alone was why I coach junior sport.
It has been a privilege to coach this team. It has nothing to do with how good or how well they play their footy – it is solely about the calibre and character of young man that plays for Hampton Rovers u/14 Division 1. Not a training night or a match went past without every boy coming over to me, or Lou, shaking our hands and thanking us for training or the game. All 25 of them – without exception……………………..they are a class act!!

Two words………………………………”PRIDE”…………&…………………”THANKS”

Matt Larkworthy

U14 Div1 Coach

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