- Dec 22, 2008
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Australia (Cricket)
Tonight, I went to Collingwood’s Season Launch at Aviary (Crown Towers), to officially welcome the players in for the 2019 season, while having candid discussions with the players about Alex Fasolo, the 2018 Grand Final, my voluntary role with the VFL program and spoke at numerous lengths about the 2019 season being based on a legacy of success to overcome failure from the Grand Final loss against the Eagles.
First cab off the rank, was Jaidyn Stephenson, who I have proudly anointed as my main man (favourite player) since Alex Fasolo left to go to the Blues. I told Jaidyn of the amount of time I spent with Alex in his final season for the club, by encouraging him when he was playing as well as I could until the VFL Elimination Final against Essendon, when Fasolo booted 4 behinds. It was then and there, my attention turned to the fortunes of the AFL program producing gold for the faithful, which proved very fruitful until the closing stages of the Grand Final; sans (without) the premiership cup. I informed Jaidyn about how impaling that defeat was to me, as much as himself and his teammates. I ended up telling him about his new guernsey number hopefully bringing a premiership or two along with it.
Next up is Steele Sidebottom. On Sunday, Steele jokingly told me not to speak to opponents. One player that I caught up with was Alex Fasolo, albeit for a brief minute at best. My discussion with Alex was about Stephenson becoming my main man, and that I told Alex it was what it was as far as his journey in footy went. Tonight, I took the opportunity to clarify with Steele on how much Alex Fasolo meant to me before he left the club. Steele acknowledged that Alex was a mate to me as often as an acquaintance. Sidebottom also learnt of Stephenson taking charge of my heart within the playing group.
I had my maiden conversation with Collingwood’s captain Scott Pendlebury. I revealed who I was to him, that I also informed Pendlebury about my voluntary role at VFL level, while adding that I have not missed an AFL game involving Collingwood in Melbourne since 2008. My parting words to him were “May there be a legacy of success to overcome failure”.
I asked Will Hoskin-Elliott if he was on course for Round 1. He told me he won’t make it against Geelong on March 22. He will test his iliotibial band (thigh muscle that connects the hip) in a running session on Friday, and will endeavour to return against Richmond in Round 2. Will asked me if I had watched a replay of the whole Grand Final. I told him I only looked back on YouTube footage that showed every single score over two halves. I franked the second half to monitor the shots Josh Thomas missed in the third term, as I did with De Goey in the same quarter, who played on to kick a banana which proved too skinny. That’s an insight into what I wanted to review without watching the whole game.
I spoke to Jordan Roughead, and asked him if he enjoyed his maiden pre-season at Collingwood, which he emphatically told me that he did. I added more to the discussion, about his performance in the final JLT game against Carlton in Morwell, by declaring that I enjoyed his game. It was at that moment, that I bought up the new kick-in rules which could be exploited to Collingwood’s advantage. Watching Darcy Moore, Lynden Dunn when he returns and Brayden Maynard gallop out of the goal square without kicking it to themselves to get the ball to the wing sooner than ever before. I did caution Jordan about he and I meeting up at VFL level, especially if he is forced to play there once Dunn becomes available for senior selection. My final point was about birthdays. Roughead and I were born in 1990 respectively. I am Roughead’s senior by 108 days (July 18 - November 3).
The last conversation I had amongst the players was Mason Cox. I told him I couldn’t be happier with his progress. The primary feature I want him to work on is his set shots from 45-50 metres. There was a shot I bought up with Mason from the Grand Final in the last quarter, where I willed that particular set shot home only for the air to go out of the balloon before it got there. It was one of four moments in the last quarter which Nathan Buckley said “we didn’t quite nail” if the premiership cup was to be won. I simply implored Mason to start believing he can kick those sorts of goals more often, of which he thanked me for my feedback.
My night culminated with a selfie alongside Collingwood’s coach Nathan Buckley. I asked Nathan if he knew my name, since he knew who I was for a number of years without remembering my exact name. In 2015, Bucks referred to me as Patrick once before I corrected him on that occasion. In the following years however, he thought I was Matt, before I took the opportunity to hit the nail on the head and declare “It’s Joseph”. He has assured me he won’t forget in a hurry. I had two discussions in total with Buckley. The first discussion was about my VFL role, while I told him what I told Pendlebury at the end of that particular discussion; “May there be a legacy of success to overcome failure”. Back to the second conversation, once Nathan found out what my name was, I told him that we go as far back as 2001. On April 7, 2001 at Colonial Stadium, I was the mascot before the game against the Dockers, before Buckley amassed 46 disposals in a game which Collingwood won by 17 points. My final words to Bucks were “May the Force be with us”.