New Era. New Beginning. An aptly chosen motto to lead us into 2013. The excitement from last years Presentation Night continued to gain momentum from the appointment of Guy (and Owen & Spider) right through the preseason with some of our higher profile names returning.
What happened in 2013 is still raw and its hard wiping the smile from ones face as I think about what we were able to achieve.
On a personal note, it was disappointing the Reserves couldnt deliver the club a Premiership, but Im extremely proud of the achievements of the entire group and the direction the club is headed after the adversity of our previous 2 seasons. And for the support the rest of the playing group showed the Seniors in their quest for the ultimate success.
50 players represented the Reserves this season. Of them; only 5 were new faces and a 6th was the returning Jason Zampaglione. Given the successful culture that already existed (not to be confused with a culture of success!), we knew with all that was transpiring in the lead up to Round 1 that there was good cause to be excited. And so it was that the Reserves would end the season in 2nd place and subsequently compete in finals for only the 2nd time since 2001. Unfortunately, we werent able to add to our 15 wins from the H&A season, but there were many positives in the way we fought out our finals campaign.
Id like to thank Mitzi and the committee for backing me in to do the job again this year; and thank my support staff in season 2013. Charlie, Bernie, Mick Dove, Steve Guy, Cal van den Enden, John Barnes, Denis Flynn, Jim Westhead, Mitzi Gray, Jason Cave, Kirsty Rogerson, Meghan Kalab et al and everyone else who chipped in along the way. Were quite fortunate to have these people to call on and they deserve as much of the success as any other. Id also like to thank John Cesario and Seb Wright whom regularly shared the training responsibilities and continued to support us once their respective seasons had ended. And thanks also to Guy, Owen & Spider for their input into my development as coach, but most importantly to the development of the playing group.
Lastly, and most importantly, thanks to the playing group. To me, this was by far my most difficult year. Ringing around trying to get a side and getting flogged for 2 years is a tough gig. But having to tell players they wont get a game in and around finals time was my biggest challenge in 3 years of coaching. The service they put into the club over the previous 2 seasons when it got tough and when they couldve walked away, made it all the more challenging for me to make those calls. And to be truthful, it wasnt because they werent capable of playing at this level. It was simply that we felt players were ahead of them. How each individual handled those moments was quite satisfying and a credit to the direction the club is heading. The support I received from the players and the support from those individuals when theyd been kicked in the guts, is a great example of the priceless culture at HRAFC. I cannot speak highly enough of our playing group from the old blokes, right down to the young and the new. And that is why I look forward to watching them prosper in 2014 and beyond.