Time Out: Grass on other side not always greener

ABOUT three months ago I moved from a one-horse, three-pub town in Tasmania to Bendigo.

Down in Tassie, I was the star shooter in the netball team and had also snagged myself a very snazzy holographic trophy for winning the division two women’s doubles badminton championship.

I thought I was an irreplaceable, integral part of both teams and future success would be impossible without me.

Therefore, I was perturbed to find out a couple of weeks ago that both the netball and badminton teams I left won their grand finals without me.

It was especially discomforting and off-putting, considering our badminton team was stone cold motherless last on the ladder when I left.

It seems as though they experienced quite a resurgence in the second half of the year.

I’d like to think that, released from the shackles of my obvious overpowering greatness, other members of the team were better able to play their own game. 

Or maybe they were just relieved I was no longer boring them with locker room yarns about the time I met childhood hero Peter Everitt at an Irish pub in Melbourne in 2010.

It is a more distinct possibility I was holding the team down.

There is nothing more disturbing than leaving a team and watching it shine. 

This is why AFL trade week, or trade month as it has now become, is such a dicey prospect.

You may think you’re on to a good thing and moving to a club with more chance of success, but what happens when your old team goes from strength to strength and you’re left in a new team whose prospects of winning are the same as Australia snagging three gold medals in the luge at the Winter Olympics? 

A classic example of this is when Ablett and Mark Thompson left Geelong at the end of 2010. 

Doomsayers said this was the end of the great Geelong era. 

Subsequent history shows the Cats won the 2011 premiership with new coach Chris Scott, Gary Ablett is playing in one of the worst teams I have ever seen (and I have seen some shocking St Kilda outfits in my time) and Mark Thompson is helping coach perennial May premiers Essendon to not much success.

And I don’t want to bring this up again, Brendan Goddard, but leaving a club to join another with more supposed premiership aspirations is also fraught with danger. 

Did BJ not learn a lesson from Leigh Colbert, who requested a trade to North Melbourne while being the captain of Geelong because he “wanted to play in a premiership team”?

He was swapped with dual premiership player Cameron Mooney and picks that yielded, among others, three-time premiership player Corey Enright. 

North Melbourne has not even looked like winning a premiership since 2000.

But it’s not just in the AFL where you can make some terrible, club-moving decisions.

Left-handed opening batsman Matthew Elliott played for the Victorian Bushrangers for 13 years before demanding a move to South Australia, where he was sacked less than two years later. 

And you can even change countries in the search for greener pastures. 

Tennis player Jelena Dokic moved from representing Australia to Serbia before settling back to Australia.

There’s a selfish part of everyone that really likes to think that when you leave, the team will crumble around you. 

Sometimes this just doesn’t happen.

On a positive note, I am sure my new Bendigo teammates love my quality locker room chat. 

Did I ever mention the time Stewie Loewe came to our school in 1995...?

TURNAROUND: Jelena Dokic left Australia in search of greener pastures but returned when her dream crumbled.

TURNAROUND: Jelena Dokic left Australia in search of greener pastures but returned when her dream crumbled.


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