After a 2012 without a thirds and an influx of players at the senior levels there was a clear need for the thirds to be re-established. I was fortunate enough to be offered the position as coach. While coaching was definitely something I had an interest in, I most definitely didnt expect to be coaching this year.
I was more or less offered the position on the eve of the season and without too much planning was picking a side for our first game for the year. It was a strong side and turned out to be a winning side thanks to Lachlan Wheeler who guided the team in my absence as I was away in Sydney on other business. I came back thinking, Gee, how easy is this coaching thing?
As the results will show it turned out to be a lot tougher than I had anticipated but I thoroughly enjoyed the season. We ended up with 3 wins for the year highlighted by a massive 150 point win midway through the year, which is the best year ever for the Thirds. While I had played a bit of thirds footy before and the results were mostly uncompetitive beltings, this year proved different with games against Ormond and St Leos (both finalists) that went down to the last few minutes proved that this group was playing some very good football.
Whilst Im not sure of the exact number of players who played a game with us this year, it was important that if there were blokes coming back from injury or just missing out in the reserves that there was still a game available for them and they more often than not put their heads down and stood out with us. Two players who started their year with us played a few games of senior footy, which felt quite satisfying knowing where they had come from.
There were many highlights throughout the year and as a group I felt all players gave 100% effort and enjoyed their footy as much as possible. Congrats goes to a few players who played milestone games: Steve Helliger & Nathan Foster in particular who both played their 150th VAFA game.
Many thanks must go to the support we received. Many thanks to the trainers we had, Shawn in particular who was at our 9:20am away games on the other side of town. Thanks to Ryan Neeson who ran the boundary for the majority of the season. To players who assisted when injured with goal umpiring, time keeping or just support from the sidelines I thank you. They are little jobs that are of a huge help on game day. Also thankyou to the other coaches, in particular Guy Martyn and Michael Flahive who gave as much guidance and assistance as they could. Michael in particular who was in a similar situation as myself a few years ago has been a massive help. Freddy and Mitzi also knew what to do or who to go too when I needed something & the support is much appreciated.
A special thankyou to my father, Richard Wright, who took on the role as team manager, time keeper, goal umpire, jumper washer and general support. This season couldnt have been done without him.
Im not sure what the future holds, there is a caretaker position at Essendon for which Im more than happy to volunteer for, but whatever happens & despite some of the on field results I feel very happy with what we as a group have achieved this year.