Stale Coffs Comets now need new blood
By GREG WHITE
AFTER another season of disappointment the question must be asked - where to now for Coffs Harbour?
Since going down to Orara in the 1997 decider the Comets have been on a gradual downhill slide to now find themselves just above a team without a win all year.
That's sad and not long ago would have been unforgivable in such a proud club but after so long between drinks, acceptance looks to be taking over.
There's no mongrel remaining and you don't hear players getting aggro any more after a loss.
But among other clubs they retain the silvertail image.
Problem is, those same clubs no longer fear them like in the old days.
Pointing the finger of blame in a specific direction is useless because it won't lift the club off the bottom.
Only some hard-nosed self appraisal of where the problems are and then fixing them decisively will get the Comets out of the rut.
Some suggestions from this supporter who allowed his membership to slip after endless frustration:
(A) Terrible discipline problems stick out among the younger players.
If they won't act like citizens, don't quibble about it - punt them.
Make them somebody else's problem instead of your own for the next decade.
When a player (or parent) dangles the threat of "I'll go/take him to Orara" over your heads, sign the clearance with record speed.
(B) New blood from out of town is needed in the playing ranks to create the competitive spirit to excel.
There's been a whiff of Tasmania about the place for years with a conga line of coaches given nothing more to shape a future with than 'local juniors' and the odd blow-in the neighbouring clubs didn't snaffle in time.
Give the incoming coach some fresh blood to work with while re-building the confidence of the stalwarts who make up the backbone of the club.
The money is going to be spent anyway so why not allocate it to performers instead of the group of underachievers who negate the hard work of the players having a go.
(C) Stop the pretence there's no conflict with Leagues Club management.
The football arm know there are laws of corporate governance requiring reports but the Leagues board must also develop some trust in those charged with running the show.
Until you do, the whole venture will continue to struggle with everyone looking suspiciously at each other.
(D) One member keen to take a more active role told me he'd like to get more former players and officials involved.
Good in theory but with a word of warning.
Coffs is the only club where supporters without portfolio have as much influence as the committee - not always for the betterment, as they chatter away behind the scenes.
Many a coach has walked away muttering dark thoughts about knives in the back etc.
If these old-timers are brought in, explain their position means the responsibility of only making their thoughts known in the appropriate forum.
And that is NOT around a bar.
In summation, the Comets are not at a crossroads - they've gone past it.
They must go back to that intersection, check their map of the future and start heading back in that direction.