We started our pre-season at Bendigo Gold Football Club almost five months ago.
Clash with Geelong a huge test for all at Gold
I am fortunate to coach a group of young men with great character and attitude.
We have worked tirelessly to improve in all areas critical to our game and have had three practice matches to implement.
All of that now boils down to the real stuff starting, and everyone in footy is excited that round one is here.
What that looks like for each club and each team is vastly different.
There are clubs who will be striving for the ultimate success and especially locally, endeavouring to keep a premiership dynasty alive.
Some clubs will have assessed their previous season in the hope of closing the gap and adding silverware to the cabinet.
For our club, we have identified key areas for Gold to focus on in order to be successful long-term.
We need to continue to offer the opportunities for young men to play VFL football in order to demonstrate their strengths to AFL recruiters.
We have recruited players, such as Jarrod Bacon (pictured) who see the benefit and over time this will become clearer to those in our region who have passed their chance.
Our draw is also a prime factor for our ongoing sustainability.
As coach, we face a tough on-field challenge, but the football department and players embrace the fact we play the big AFL clubs at the QEO, and if 2013 was anything to go by, we will play against future stars of the big time.
We also strongly value our culture.
We must create an environment for young men to thrive, but also for their families and friends to be welcomed.
On Saturday night, we held our jumper presentation, which was a huge success.
Some people travelled more than four hours to be there and many family members attended.
With the real stuff comes real expectation.
I am extraordinarily fortunate to coach a group of young men with great character and attitude.
The expectation is for this group to improve and be competitive. We will.
We are also honest within our club and understand we will play a handful of players this week (and most other weeks) earning more annually than our entire list.
An amazing statistic rarely faced in our sport or any other.
This Friday night we face Geelong at the QEO – as big of a challenge as there is at this level.