Inside Sport - - CONTENTS -

WHO do you sing for? Fol­low­ing a team is half (maybe more) the fun in foot­ball, which is why peo­ple should de­clare them­selves for an A-League club. But who? has put to­gether this handy flow chart to help guide your way to the A-League out­fit that best matches your per­son­al­ity ...

As this is our grand fi­nal edition, there’s a pic­ture of you in the book si ing alone a er the ’05 GF, where the out­sider can’t tell whether you've won or lost. Are the emo­tions more mud­dled than we’d ex­pect a er win­ning the de­cider?

That was later on, so you’re sort of going through all these strings of emo­tion through­out the course of not only the next cou­ple of hours, but the next 24, 48 hours, re­ally ... Ev­ery­one had cleared out, and it was more the ex­haus­tion of the sea­son – not only that sea­son, but the num­ber of sea­sons and the ef­fort that had gone into win­ning a premiership. I ac­tu­ally didn’t know the door was open and any­one had taken the photo, un­til I saw it the next day. It was that mo­ment of re­flec­tion – of the whole ca­reer, I guess.

Was there an emo­tional arc from win­ning a close one in 2005 to los­ing a close one the next year? I get the sense that those re­sults made you ap­pre­ci­ate how ran­dom the game can be ...

There’s no doubt hav­ing won it, there’s a safety net there. There’s a con­fi­dence you have, a clar­ity, a sense of ful­fil­ment. I think when you’ve been through three, and two have been re­ally close, you un­der­stand that so much of it is out of your con­trol. You ap­pre­ci­ate the ran­dom­ness of some of the things that hap­pen in a game of foot­ball. The next year, the ran­dom­ness sort­of went the other way. So the prepa­ra­tion side of things for both John [Wors­fold] and I – we both did a good job, the play­ers did a good job, and then the ran­dom­ness kicked in in both games. And we were in front of one, and they were in front of the other.

Great play­ers o en find the tran­si­tion to coach­ing to be a chal­lenge. In­ter­est­ingly, you wrote that you learned more at the end of your ca­reer in 1998 when you spent a lot of time com­ing off the bench.

That ten­week pe­riod was piv­otal in my coach­ing views. When you’re pre­par­ing, it doesn’t maˆer if you’re the most self­less player, you’re still looking a‰er your­self. When you’ve been a good player for most of your ca­reer, to sit on the bench and see things dif­fer­ently is a great ex­pe­ri­ence – un­der­stand­ing the mind­set of other play­ers. We had a cou­ple of guys who came back to Fitzroy as coaches who were great play­ers, but just couldn’t bring them­selves to think about what it was like not to be.

So to have that ex­pe­ri­ence was piv­otal. And writ­ing it down – when I give talks now, I al­ways say, "I don’t care how long you’ve been at the job, write down what it was like when you walked in. Write it down and keep your­self ac­count­able, be­cause there will be so many mo­ments that will drag you away from your be­liefs."

Would you say that a coach­ing phi­los­o­phy crys­tallised out of those 25 points?

Ab­so­lutely. When I wrote them in ’98, I didn’t know I was going to be a coach. But even if I was going to go into an­other vo­ca­tion, I think they’re trans­ferrable. Okay, what were the good things I learned as a player, what were the bad things? I had it in my desk for eight years in Syd­ney, and I took it out for Mel­bourne – it no doubt held me ac­count­able ... It’s eas­ier to write it a‰er you’ve done it. It’s harder be­fore you coached.

Wanted to ask about the last point, which was the only point you added later on – and it has to do with what you learned on an eye-open­ing trip to the US in 1999.

When I le‰ in ’98, we were only sort of be­com­ing full­time. I had come up to Syd­ney in ’95, and I had worked up un­til then. So going over­seas al­lowed me to see a full­time program in bas­ket­ball and the NFL, and sort of project for­ward and say, "This is what we can do." It was a fan­tas­tic re­minder where we could take our game in terms of train­ing philoso­phies ... Video­tap­ing train­ing, which hadn’t been done be­fore. Re­ally break­ing down drills, game­state train­ing, all that sort of thing. We see it a lot

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