Senior’s 2018 – Coach’s Review
With virtually an entire new coaching staff, Season 2018 was always going to be a learning environment for both the playing group and the coaching staff.
The key priorities set out by the coaching staff for 2018 were;
- To develop and improve the Culture of the club, particularly around the training, playing and behavioural standards on and off the field.
- To develop and improve the Leadership within the playing and coaching ranks.
- To design a set of Training Standards, Team Rules and Game Style to improve our on field performances at both Senior & Reserves level.
- To create a Club environment to enhance the enjoyment and sense of fun for all participants and people involved at OIGFC.
- To create a Club environment where respect is given to all people involved within the club, to the opposition and to umpires and officials.
To achieve the above objectives, the recruitment and appointment of the best available people for all football related roles was undertaken.
A specific 5 week block of Pre- Xmas training was planned consisting of 2 compulsory sessions and one optional session per week. Training focussed on skill development, fitness, pattern of play, tactical development and leadership development. Training attendance was recorded, fitness tests were undertaken and players were incentivised with an award each week for “Trainer of the Week” and an award for the “Trainer of the Pre-Xmas Block” which was won by Michael Bacskos.
It was during this Pre-Xmas that the concept of “Sweeping the Sheds” was introduced. This was designed to ensure the playing and coaching group respected the club support staff, the facilities, equipment and environment.
Another specific 5 week training block was planned for the Post-Xmas period culminating in a Pre-Season training camp to be held at Lorne. This phase of training continued to prioritise fitness, skill, game style and tactics with a strong focus on preparation for the practice match period.
The camp was very well attended with a large cross section of players from Senior, Reserve, U/19s and Women’s teams in attendance. A Cultural Development session was held where the entire club personnel (players, coaches, support staff, committee and supporters) developed a set of Club Behaviours and Standards for on and off field activities.
We played our first practice game of the year at this camp against Lorne – and had a very strong win, followed by two more solid wins against Banyule and Camberwell. From a preparation point of view the club was in great shape after an almost faultless Pre-Xmas, Post-Xmas and Pre-Season training period.
The Leadership Group was announced with 6 leaders being appointed to each of our Leadership Pillars. Those players appointed were; “Skipper” – Mal Mitris, “Hardness – Carl Groth, “Selflessness” – Sam Wilcox, “Discipline” – Michael Bacskos, “Boldness” – Sam Geilings, “Mateship” – Daniel Cookson
All players and coaches were presented with an OIGFC Players & Coaches Manual which outlined all aspects of the Coaching, Training, Playing, Expected Behaviours and other important information about the Club and the season ahead.
Due to the thorough preparation and the enthusiasm around the club there was an air of expectation and excitement.
The season started on a brilliant note with an outstanding performance in Rd 1 against Peninsula on their home turf after they had been relegated back to C Grade. This win proved to be somewhat misleading as Peninsula finished the season on second last place on the ladder.
The senior team lost their next 4 games in a row against Williamstown, Camberwell, Fitzroy and PEGS. In all games the senior team had been very competitive in parts of the game, however these games proved to be a reality check in terms of where we sat in relation to the rest of the completion.
Injury and unavailability to senior key players hit the team hard around this time and throughout the season. Carl Groth (12 games), Sam Wilcox (10), Tom Kellock (8), Mick Del Monte (6)Sam Geilings (5), Mal Mitris (4) Luke Scuderi (3), Justin Powick (3)
Brandon Lee (2), Dylan Buttifant (2), Tom O’ Halloran, Jake Erman and Sam Keogh all missed multiple games.This sorely tested the clubs depth and both senior and reserves teams struggled at times to adequately cover the long injury list.
The new found resilience of the team kicked in from Rd 6 to Rd 15 during which time despite a series of setbacks the senior team recorded 6 impressive wins against Mentone, St Mary’s x2, Peninsula, PEGS & Camberwell. Narrow losses were had to Geelong (1 point), Marcellin (7 points) and ladder leaders Williamstown (away by 6 points). We could easily have been 9-1 during this 10 game block and this indicated the level of improvement we’d seen from the group.
The last three games of the year were disappointing – we lost against Fitzroy, Geelong and Marcellin – the high intensity that we had played at during the middle part of the year had caught up with our young group and this ensured we dropped from 5th spot to 6th by the end of the year.
As a team we recorded 7 wins for the season which was one less win that 2017 however we finished two spots better on the ladder (6th vs 8th) which indicates the strength of the competition.
Some of our KPI’s were to better aspects of last year which we managed to do, E.G
- Improve our scoring – 70pts per game (2017) vs 89 pts per game (2018). +19
- Improve our % – 82% in 2017 to 96% in 2018. +14%
- Score against increased from 85pts per game in 2017 to 92pts in 2018. +7
Clearly we allowed the opposition to score more heavily than we would have liked. This will become a focus of our preparation for 2019.
Highlights of the season included;
- Beating PEGS by 88 points at Chelsworth Park. Adrian Delmonte (7 goals), Mal Mitris (5 Goals) had big days.
- Beating finalists Camberwell at Chelsworth Park on the 2013 premiership reuinion.
- Pushing Premiership contender Williamstown to 6 points and Finalist Geelong to 1 point – both on their home grounds. Corresponding games were 100 point losses in 2017.
- The debut of several of our Premiership U/19s players from 2017 – Sam Keogh, Luke Scuderi, Max Jones, Matt Vacirca, Trent Marshall
- The debut of two U19 players in R18 – Kane Veliou, who was voted Best on Ground & kicked 3 and Jack Welham who impressed greatly until he injured his hamstring late in the first quarter.
- The selection of Nick Reeves-Smythe in the VAFA representative side.
- Nick’s subsequent senior B&F win.
- Adrian Del Monte’s 51 goals – 2nd in the competition.
- The performance of our two senior recruits Justin Powick – Runner – up in the B&F and Daniel Cookson 5th in the B&F.
- Michael Del Monte’s 150th senior game
- Richard Skok’s 100th senior game
- The celebration of the retirements of Sam Geilings and Dave Bruno.
- The introduction of post-game video reviews used as a reinforcing and coaching tool.
- The introduction of pre-game previews of opposition teams
- The introduction of a mid-season review of performances, resetting of goals and to plan for the 2nd half of the season.
- The introduction of presenting “awards” to club volunteers to recognise their contributions.
- The introduction of ex-players presenting jumpers to first gamers on Thursday nights, and then their parents presenting their jumper on game day.
Overall, great progress has been made by the club in regards to professionalism and standards. Unfortunately at this stage it has not translated into finals achievement, however with continuous searching for improvement and the displaying of the strong habits being exuded by the players and coaches, we believe the future is bright.
The blooding of so many young players will hold us in good stead for season 2019. We cannot rest on our laurels of our improved, if modest performances. We need to reset, refresh, recruit wisely and bring the same level of commitment and enthusiasm to the coming season and make sure we build on the momentum we have created.
In closing I would like to thank all at the club for the absolute support and effort that has been displayed. From President George and Vice President Anthony, all the committee, players, coaches, staff and volunteers, supporters and sponsors, thank you so much.
We will not rest easy until we start bring Premiership Cups back to Chelsworth Park