Letter From The Coach

Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 1:54 PM

2019 was a tough year. We ended the season with only four wins, and a heap of close losses early on in the year hurt our season. In my opinion, those close losses took their toll on the paying group through the middle part of the year mentally.

I commend our playing group that stuck it out through these tough times though. It is very easy to walk away and tell yourself as a player that it’s not worth it when things get hard. Many have over the last two years and from my point of view, if this is happening now as we:

  • Set standards – on field and off field
  • Live our Values
  • Build our Culture;

we don’t want them here. When we are successful and playing games for finals, grand finals and premierships, that attitude just will not cut it.

Although the wins column was not a successful aspect, there were some little wins along the way:

  • We were able to debut 17 players to league footy at SDFC.
  • 13 of the 17 debutants at SDFC played their first game of league footy this year. This has given these players a taste of what is required at WAFL league level and can only benefit us looking to the immediate and long-term future.
  • Defeated the two AFL listed teams in the last month of the year, West Coast twice throughout the season.
  • Outscored Subiaco for a half with an extremely young and developing team.

As we move forward to 2020, we feel we have improved off the field already.

We welcome Ted Polglaze to the club as our new Sport Scientist. Ted comes with a wealth of experience and knowledge having worked with the Australian Kookaburras, Australian Women’s water polo teams during extremely successful periods and has been to the Olympics himself as an athlete competing in the Bobsled.

Andrew Pruyn comes back as a coach to help with the seniors and our midfield group, and ex player David McKay as reserves coach. It’s always great to get Swans people back into the fray to help us move forward.

The football department has been extremely active off field. The Administration (CEO and Board) have been able to get our club into an improving position financially, meaning as we move forward, we are in a better position to attract more talent through the doors. We will not deviate from our mantra of developing our own and building through our zone but being active on the recruiting market is part and parcel if we look to challenge in the future.  

With the football club investing in this playing group on and off field, the message to the playing group is clear, we must improve.

Some interesting stats from last year, four wins puts us on the bottom of the 2019 ladder.

However in my opinion, we are not that far away. In fact, here are some figures that support that case. If we improved our offence/scoring by one goal each week and our defence by one goal each week, we end the season on 10 wins, finish 4th on the ladder and host a home final! This is on top of all the positive outcomes with development throughout the year. Further to that, if it was another one goal better each way, two goals for the offence and two goals for the defence, we start the season 8 wins and 0 losses, and then who know what happens!

We know we have exposed our young talent to the rigours of WAFL senior footy, not only the playing demands but the preparation and professionalism required.

Six of the nine award winners in our senior program for 2019 were 23 and under. Jesse Turner and Josh Cipro have turned themselves into league footballers by hard work and determination, and I have no doubt they will build on what they have started.

Aidan Clarke has turned up to pre-season in better shape than before along with Brayden Hackett after a troublesome year.

It’s an expectation that our reserve award winners grow and improve in 2020. We need good league footballers. The likes of Mitch Bain, Callum Garcia, Jiah Reidy and Patrick Italiano need to take the next step.

With the continued development of this group and more, retention of our senior players, and actively seeking potential recruits, our expectation is to move up the ladder and we are all looking forward to improving in 2020.

I look forward to seeing you at Steel Blue celebrating wins together.

Adam Pickering.