After overcoming the disappointment of being relegated, the pleasing thing for me and the coaching panel, was the way in which all players bought into the journey of regaining our place in Premier C. With a few changes in personnel, it gave a lot of younger players opportunity to stake their claim in the senior team. The emergence of sum 15 players who either qualify for u/19s or are only a year or two out, was a huge highlight – in 2018, we officially entered a new era.
Our senior club’s ability to go 7-0 was outstanding. With the inevitable exit of players for all or some of the second half of the season, it challenged the group to keep the momentum going…didn’t they do a great job. To finish on top losing 3.5 games was a huge reward for all players in the senior club.
Highlights of the home and away season were Josh McPherson’s ability to kick near on 40 goals in half a season.
The emergence of Broadley, Pavlou, Crisp, Rieniets, and the leadership of McNeil, Carnovale and Clements to steer this group through tough wins at Prahran, Preston and West Brunswick was outstanding. Our ability to blood more youth in the Melnjak brothers, Miles Bergman and Cory Jones, was huge. And further to all of this was our depth and strength of the reserves. To have so many players legitimately putting their hands up for a senior game was what we need to be a strong club – Tim Jones, Jack Zaina, Calum Tate, Nick Jackson and Brendan Culvenor all played their part, and all made huge inroads in their development.
The finals were a challenge for finding our best and most balanced side. We were exposed for speed and ball use in the first final, we made up for it in the preliminary final with a huge effort in tough conditions. The grand final was a true demonstration of how much pride this group have. To come back from near 30 points down to hit the front was a testament to their courage. To win a GF, you need a lot of qualities…but you need some luck. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it at the end. However, every single player should be proud of their effort.
When I took the job, I not only wanted to make people better footballers and win games, but I also promised to try to make them better people. We all get challenged in life, we all don’t get things to go our way…but how we handle this is a true indicator of us as a person. We all make errors and wish we could do things better, but as long as the club is at the heart of our best interest, everyone wins in the long run.
I would like to thank the whole club for the opportunity to coach this club. In particular to Stephen Anderson, Freddie, Nashy, Dean and Cam Voss, for all their hard work and support. Nothing was never a problem. To my coaching panel, Trent Pitts whose work behind the scenes was enormous. To John Cesario for his guidance and support throughout the weeks. Peter Clements for the unenviable task of managing the board and rotations. Kyle Pinto for his help over the off season, his advice during the week and in particular the way he played in the last month of the season. Anton, Lou, Egga and Cuz for their commitment to their teams and the stresses the senior selection can have on them – thank you. Thank you to Junior and Wheels for running duties. Max and Billy for their stats, a huge thank you. To Jamie for his team manger work. The players and coaches owe you a lot of thanks after all the work you did this season.
I encourage everyone to get onboard again, support each other and continue to make this club the envy of all football clubs in Melbourne.