Rival coaches plot Grand Final success

With every Grand Final, there are always sub-stories. Players who’ve made a comeback, first year players having immediate success, veterans who have been starved of success. This Saturday’s Premier C Grand Final between Hampton Rovers and Parkdale Vultures will see yet another sub-story play out.

The opposing coaches of the two teams this Saturday are Hampton’s Guy Martyn and Parkdale’s Sam Radford. Both coaches have been strategically plotting their season throughout the course of the year. The ironic thing with these combatting coaches is both Guy and Sam work alongside one another, as teachers at St Bedes College in Mentone.

Each Monday the two would dissect their respective games and share notes on opposition teams. Included and often driving the conversation would be another St Bedes colleague and Hampton Rovers’ assistant coach, Owen Lalor. This week the coaches are keeping the notes, tactics and strategy close to their chests, as they prepare for Saturday’s game, according to Radford. “The sharing of secrets dried up significantly as we got towards the pointy end of the season as the likelihood of us playing one another in a final started to become a possibility” said Radford.

“Owen, Guy and I catch up for a coffee a couple of times each week, and lately there has been a lot of just staring at the coffee mug” Radford added.

Besides Guy and Sam leading their teams to and Grand Final and subsequent promotion to Premier B, there are a number of other similarities the two share.

Both played at Trevor Barker Oval, the venue of Saturday’s big game, with the Sandringham Zebras at stages throughout their playing careers; both led an immediate resurgence at their club when they took on their roles – Sam leading the Vultures to back-to-back premierships (Division 1 in 2011 & Premier C in 2012) in his first two seasons as coach, and Guy aiming to take the Rovers to back-to-back premierships in his first two seasons as coach, following the Rovers’ Division 1 flag last season.

Unlike last season, this year Martyn is a playing coach, and at 27 he is the youngest coach in the VAFA.

Martyn says that the Rovers will be going in with arguably their best line up for the year. “From a list point of view, our moons have aligned; we’ve had guys return from overseas, others come back from injury, and school football commitments come to an end, so we’ve pretty much got a full list to choose from.”

When questioned about whether Radford saw a weakness in the Rovers’ armour, he quickly quipped “the only thing less reliable than Guy’s hamstrings are his lesson plans.”

Soon a major difference that will separate the two coaches is that one will be holding the premiership cup aloft, and as importantly according to the two; hold bragging rights for at least the next 12 months. Who that is – we will know the answer at 5:00pm this Saturday.


2014 VAFA Premier C Grand Final

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