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afl footy
fast break
despair
controversy
Even A Small Fracture Can Hurt
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So the AFL footy season is over for another year. The final siren has gone; the umpire has blown his final whistle for 2011.  The last pie has been eaten, the last beer, drunk and the last time for 2011 that fans have sat in the stands cheering, booing, swearing, yelling, hugging, crying and leaving either in state of euphoria or despair.

While my team did not make it to the Grand Final, the game was a real cracker!  It had everything. From controversy, game ending injury, stunning goals, amazing stand outs which even the weather could not tame.

Did the right team win? Without a doubt, yes.  Geelong deserved to win. They played the way Collingwood didn’t, fast and like a team.  I have said it all along this year.  Collingwood cannot play fast break footy and this was shown in this match. I knew that if the match was neck and neck at half time, that Geelong would come out and blast the Magpies out of the ground, which they did. Tom Hawkins stepped in after Podsiadly went down and did a truly outstanding job.  Stevie J showed how a person can work through pain and play as if nothing was wrong.  Bartell, well what can you say except wow!  But there were two players who for me were ones that really stepped into the spotlight, besides Hawkins, it was Lonergran and Wojcinski.

Down in the back, they shut down and put up boards blocking out the strong Collingwood forward line. They stepped up when it counted.  And let’s not forget Chris Scott, who managed to bring a team together when everyone thought they would be lingering down at the bottom, to become a truly great team.  Both he and Cameron Ling should be admired for the way they carry themselves both on and off the field.

And this my friends is what makes a great team.  It is not how good a player or players are that makes a great team.  It is what goes on when players are not playing.  How they carry themselves off field is what makes a team, a team.

No matter what sport, a team must play as a team and act like a team both off the field and on the field.  If there is the slightest bit of fracture in the team, then no amount of amazing playing ability will make that team win.  Oh they might get lucky but that is not because of their ability but because of the lack of ability in their opposition.

This was shown in the match Collingwood verses Hawthorn in the Preliminary final. Hawthorn lost the match, Collingwood didn’t win it by their outstanding playing ability.  What about last year then when Collingwood won the Grand Final? Well simply they were a team; they played as a team and supported each other as a team.  St Kilda were also a team, but in the end it was a better side that beat them and Collingwood were.  They are not now.  They are a fractured club.

St Kilda has shown what happens when a fracture creeps into the team, same with Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, and Melbourne and in some respect Richmond.  Teams such as Hawthorn, Carlton, Essendon, Sydney and West Coast are teams who have re-built successfully their teams into being a team.  And I will say that they will be a force next year.  But North Melbourne have shown the greatest achievement in what a team can do by pooling their teammanship, they achieved what no-one thought they could in the second half of the season and will also be a force in 2012.

St Kilda would never have made it into the Grand Final, they are not a team.  What with all the antics pre-season and if you watch them when playing, they do not really support each other on the field.  Same with Richmond, they have the ability but on the field there are too many egos.  Fractures in the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne, and Port Adelaide were shown when their coaching woes hit the media and that was the end of that.  Collingwood showed very small fractures when the question of Mick Malthouse started to hit the media.  And soon small fractures no matter how they are hidden, start to show.

Fractures can come from all places in a team. From the coaches, the Board, the players and even in St Kilda’s case, from the fans itself.  This can upset the synergy of a team so no matter how great the playing group is, it will always transfer to the place where it counts the most, on the field.

So as we say goodbye to AFL 2011 and look forward to greeting AFL 2012 it is a time when those behind the scenes in a football club must look at the big picture and not their egos. It is time to fix the fractures, but for some it will take time.  It is a time to re-group, re-focus and realise that to be a great team, you need to be a team first.

GO BLUES!  


Street Talk

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