This Article is About
public perception
self importance
football season
arrogance
greatness
match
Old Players, New Players, Its All About Life After
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Every year at the end of the football season (in Australia and probably in other countries as well), players and coaches, but especially players, think or actually change clubs. Now I am not going to delve into the intricacies of why a player or coach changes clubs.

Whether the person got fired, their contract not renewed or a get better offer somewhere else. This articile is not about the reasons why but it is about a player's ability to be able to conduct themselves in such a way that when their playing or coaching career ends, they can still have a very valuable career afterwards in the sport they love so much.

Whether that career be as a coach themselves or as an administrator for their club or as media commentator in the sport. No matter which one they want to aspire to, every player and coach must realise that is how they perform not only on the field but off the field during their time, that will ensure that they either fade into the distance or become so much more.

Players whose antics off the field are more newsworthy than their playing ability will never amount to anything much after their career is over, no matter how amazing that player is. Without a shadow of doubt it is arrogance and a feeling of inflated ego that gets a player into trouble in this respect.

The very idea that a player gets when they are the "golden child" in the team and the bringer of greatness and they firmly believe the spin that is spun for them; when they start to believe this, then their self importance takes over and what suffers is not only public perception of that player, but their actual playing of their sport.

Richmond's Jack Riewoldt is a prime example. He is without a doubt an amazing player. His ability to grab the ball and kick the goals is a pleasure to watch. But only sometimes. His ego gets in his own way and his lack of teammanship during a match is quite sad to watch.

Then on the onther hand you look at Hawthorn's Buddy Franklin who is a remarkable player and will play anywhere and on anyone, no matter if he kicks the goals or not. His integrity as a team player on the field is shown on how he conducts himself off the field.

Again, there is the legelnd that is Chris Judd for Carlton. If ever there was a person who would define the word integrity both on an off the field, he is the player. Sure he has made a few errors and got supsended for them. But as a whole, he plays as part of a team, both on and off the field. When his career ends as a player in football, he will without a doubt be snapped up as either a coach or a commentator. Buddy Franklin will also be in the same position, but Jack Riewoldt won't

A clever player will realise that a playing career can be as short and long as they want and injury aside, as lucrative as they want. Because it will those players that realise that their football career won't end when they stop playing or coaching. They will realise that they can be involved in the sport they love even if they are no longer on the field.

The intelligent ones will realise that in order to achieve long term benefits they must not be lulled into a false sense of security that their current benefits will always be there.

So a new player must understand that playing for an AFL team on a senior level is not just about playing the game, it is about playing the game off the field. They must understand that it doesn't matter which club they go to, they must carry themselves with an integrity that later on in their lives, they will have a career no matter if they are playing or not.

It's not about the short term, it's about the long term. It's about how a person later in their career can still achieve greatness and not infamy. With greatness comes respect. Respect for the person, the ability of the person and their acheivements.


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