GRAND Final day is a great showcase of the best in the competition but if you’re not holding the cup aloft after the final siren, grand final day is a glaring reminder of what you need to do better.
We are already entrenched in football’s often brutal silly season even though we still have the nation’s ultimate game to unfold today.
This is the time of year when fans are harshly reminded how much football is a business, and not just in the AFL. It starts with the coach, the one who rightly or wrongly, is deemed responsible for a team’s performance.
Two coaches in Ballarat leagues – Doug Hawkins at Bacchus Marsh and Joe Gilbert at Buninyong – have walked this week to allow their clubs to find someone with more passion and time to take their teams to the next level.
Hawkins, who took the Cobras to seventh, declared his intentions at the club’s presentation evening last weekend but it was watching the Ballarat Football League grand final on Saturday that re-confirmed his decision.
He had neither the time, nor energy, to implement and pull off the sophisticated rotations and structures that his duelling counterparts Rob Waters and Rick Horwood were serving up.
Buninyong has finished runner-up the past two Central Highlands Football League grand finals.
A great achievement but, despite honourable fights, there is no title.
There is no cup for the Bombers’ trophy cabinet.
Gilbert maintained it was not the missed premiership chances that impacted his decision – in his eighth season as Bombers’ coach, Gilbert said there was a lot of things on his mind – but told The Courier there was still a lot of work needed to win a premiership.
Those clubs not in finals have already started unveiling new appointments, some in a bid to attract quality new players to the club.
All with the aim of bettering their predecessors. Clubs can talk of player development as a mark and key performance indicators reached as success.
Richmond fans know five-year plans do not work – they suffered the undelivered promises of Terry Wallace.
Deep down, near enough is never good enough unless you capture the cup. Collingwood has made this blatantly clear.
The Magpies had barely started ruing their elimination final loss to Port Adelaide when they started sharpening the axe and chopping quality experience in Alan Didak, Jordan Russell, Andrew Krakouer and Lexton-launched ruckman Darren Jolly.
But the Magpies need quality personnel to bolster their depth and advance.
The AFL’s three-week free agency and trade period starts on Friday – today’s AFL premier will still be entrenched in celebrations.
It is hard as a fan to pick a favourite player to follow for years.
Collingwood’s die-hard Daisy fans could well be jeering him next year at Carlton.
Players must be torn between club loyalty and doing what is best for their personal brand to set themselves up for life. Football season never ends, it just goes through new phases.
Fremantle or Hawthorn today, whichever holds the cup aloft and however the match plays out, will set a benchmark for all 17 rivals.