YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO ...
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 maer if you’re the most selfless player, you’re still looking aer 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 aer 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