Fresh start turns into a tough start for South
THE consistent theme coming out of South Bendigo during the pre-season was a “fresh start”.
A fresh playing list following significant player turnover after last season’s first Bendigo Football League finals miss since 2004; fresh plans afoot for the future direction of the club at Harry Trott Oval that took its first steps against Eaglehawk last month; and a fresh coach in Jeff Brennan following the seven-year Rick Coburn era.
It was a clean slate for the Bloods, but the first five rounds of 2014 have been a battle on the field, with just one win across the three football teams, and now off-field headlines.
South Bendigo announced on Monday night that Brennan had resigned as coach.
It's Brennan second resignation from a senior BFL coaching job in eight months after he left Maryborough following one season in September last year.
Stepping into the Bloods’ top job now are development coach Neale Torpey and Bloods' legend Peter Tyack, himself a former South Bendigo coach who is also the club’s development officer.
So consistent has South Bendigo been for a decade without cracking it for that elusive next flag, the Bloods’ five losses to start the season is their worst losing streak since 2004, although, they haven’t been as bad as that record may suggest, having had their chances to be 2-3.
Three 50-point plus losses against Sandhurst (51), Eaglehawk (53) and Gisborne (67) – all sides currently in the top four - have been intertwined with a pair of close single-figure away defeats to reigning premier Golden Square (one) and Kyneton (eight).
When you break it down further, a 51-point loss to Sandhurst has been par for the course so far for teams against the Dragons, while the Bloods weren't the first and won’t be the last visiting side to cop a hiding from Rod Sharp’s men down at The Graveyard this year.
The next three games for the Bloods - whose forward line issues are highlighted by kicking just 42 goals in their five games - are against Kangaroo Flat, Maryborough and Castlemaine. All winnable matches.
And like any club with such different playing personnel to the previous season – there were 11 departures and 10 arrivals listed at South Bendigo in the Addy’s pre-season magazine – you’d think the Bloods would get better with each game the group plays together. Just ask Kyneton.
If the coaching change triggers a positive response from the South Bendigo players, coupled with a favourable rest of May coming up, perhaps it’s not too late for Tyack and Torpey to build some momentum and reignite the Bloods’ season.
Meanwhile, you can bet Kangaroo Flat won’t be under-estimating the winless Bloods this weekend and know all too well the effect a coaching change can have on a club.
The Roos were last year beaten by Castlemaine in the week after the Magpies had parted ways with Rod Keogh after round two.