Here we are two days out from the final game of season 2013.
We have had a year that would be hard to describe unless you experienced it first hand.
We hit the ground running in November, straight into conditioning a group of newcomers to the level of VFL footy – captain Steven Stroobants aside.
We looked light on for talls and only had one ruckman in the squad and he was battling injury.
We held our pre-season camp in Bendigo with the main focus on giving more to the community than we take out – and we succeeded.
The camp was hard work, but very enjoyable and formed the basis of a very tight and united squad.
Our practice match form was up and down, but more than anything those games alerted our players early to the jump in standard they were about to confront.
We loved the challenges against power clubs and taking on players like Scott Gumbleton, Joe Daniher, Darren Jolly, Luke Ball and Alan Didak.
To see Bridgewater’s Alex Pollock or South Bendigo’s Galen Munari take on these experienced campaigners has made my role very satisfying.
We have had some heavy defeats and had a number of very competitive efforts.
We challenged Coburg (aligned with Richmond), took it up to last year’s grand finalists Port Melbourne and impressed down at Box Hill.
But it all comes down to this Friday night at the QEO. As I have said to the players, this is the most important game because it is now.
We play Geelong, an awesome unit at AFL and VFL level, but our players will not take a backwards step.
At times, Geelong will look like a professional side as many of its players are full-time footballers, but we will keep coming.
We will play on instinct and at times I’m confident we’ll have a massive crowd on their feet.
Don’t wait until next time, don’t sit on the couch – make an effort to support a brave group of young men who have been an absolute pleasure to coach as they complete a year filled with improvement.
Amongst this group, we have future AFL players, quality VFL players and future stars and coaches of local footy.
This is an opportunity for Bendigo football followers to say “I was at the QEO that night”.