What an intro to Coach’s Corner this month. While the bruises are still purple and the body sore from our weekend in Racine WI at the USAFL National Tournament, the smile has not yet faded. We went to Racine to win our division and after a hard-fought win against Seattle (combined with Las Vegas and Arizona) in the grand final we did just that.
I am very proud of all those who put the boots on for Baltimore this year as we went about establishing ourselves both on and off the field. It has been a steep learning curve for myself in a coaching role, no less so than those who have had a run around playing “footy” with us for the first time ever this year.
The Dockers had a solid training regime coming into the Nationals competition and I believe this helped us achieve our goal for 2018. The additional numbers we had helped us train in the style we wanted to play- to hold possession and to lock the ball into our offensive half as much as possible. Game style football training (practice) is where I believe we need to direct our focus to continue to develop as a club and achieve higher goals moving forward. We trained hard in the final month and it really did show on the field. Skills and fitness will obviously be a steady diet for the Aussie footy player but where we can really develop the nuances of the game is with game style training.
In the first game of Nationals 2018, Baltimore were a little slow out of the blocks. This was against Seattle, our Nationals nemesis. Whilst not outplayed, missed scoring shots and a lack of focus had the Dockers with their backs against the wall. The second half was a very different story however and Baltimore were very unlucky after sustained pressure to lose by 4 points.
This was the last game they lost and from then on Baltimore played “Our Style of Footy”. This oft repeated mantra (cue Ian Payne and myself) related to the type of football we wanted to play and what that meant if we played that style- i.e. we would play clean, tough, fast moving football. We would be having fun on the field and all this together will lead to victory. Essentially this is the style we want play and what we want to be known for in the future.
This determined play style led to the team hoisting the DIV IV Cup and celebrating the tough victory at Nationals.
This really is an amazing achievement for a new club. This has been made possible due to the massive amounts of hard work put in behind the scenes by the Dockers board members. I thank you for all your efforts. I also thank all those that came down and had a run and for those that helped throughout the year. Thank you to those that flew back from Aus to put the boots on for us again, you know who you are.
It has been a great year for the Baltimore Dockers and I believe this success will continue if we can stay together and continue having fun as a team (and as always at the end of my coach’s corner, KEEP COMING TO TRAINING!)
See you all at the end of year windup.