THE long, tough road up from the foot of any football ladder generally takes time or a lot of money for a quick fix.
And this task was one that stared new Rokewood-Corindhap coach Mick Hynes squarely in the face when he accepted a three-year deal in the off-season.
He committed for the long haul because he knew he had to.
The Grasshoppers have battled in their first three seasons in the Central Highlands Football League, but sunk to a new low in a disastrous 2013 campaign that returned just one win against fellow strugglers Smythesdale.
In just a short period of time, it appears Hynes has been able to take the necessary first steps to even contemplate a climb up the ladder. And while they are small, they are certainly taking place.
Rokewood-Corindhap has proved itself as a competitive unit in most fixtures this season and showed how far it has come with a gallant 35-point loss against powerhouse Buninyong at the weekend. The Grasshoppers trailed by just eight points at half time, before letting the game slip in the third term.
But the performance has drawn good reports from Hynes, who admits he hates losing, but can take plenty of positives out of the fixture that the Grasshoppers lost by over 100 points 12 months ago.
While the team’s win-loss record is the same as it was after round nine in 2013 – with just one win over Smythesdale to boast about – seven of its defeats have come by smaller margins than last year. And most have been significantly.
A percentage of 78.34 – compared to 33.27 at the same time last season – also tells the tale of an improved outfit.
Rokewood-Corindhap still has four top-eight teams to negotiate this campaign, but can look to pinch a few wins in the run to finals and build the platform for a far more successful 2015.