Coach who is on the ball will win

WHICHEVER VB Gold Group 2 coach stands with the winners on grand final day will be the man who has just had his reputation enhanced more than most in recent seasons.

‘A year of transition’ is the buzz-phrase being used since the decision to switch to limited interchange.

Teams that have trained with the changes rather than fighting against them will surely have a nominal advantage until the competition settles down.

But from the moment the first ball is kicked and that initial tackle is made, the nine first grade coaches themselves will be under pressure like never before.

One bad call, one lapse in judgment, one failure to second-guess what is about to happen ... and an entire season could turn pear-shaped in an instant.

So while the 12-man bench will (hopefully) make local footy faster, safer and tailor-made for fit and fleet-footed youngsters, those old blokes with the clipboards will suddenly discover their influence on the game has become of critical importance.

That’s a very good thing.

Not only will they need to know their own players intimately, the coach who hasn’t done his homework on the opponents as well, will be at enormous disadvantage.

It will encourage innovation and the possibility of playing tactics that we’ve never seen before.

Coaches accused of being set in their ways – and let’s be honest, there are a few around here still – will have an opportunity to appraise tried and tested methods and adapt them for a new environment.

Fair dinkum, some of these cunning old foxes might surprise themselves as well as us, by believing they still have new tricks to perform.

However, they will only do this if they don’t fight progress and quickly come to terms with the reality of the situation – that the Group 2 game now belongs to the youngest, fittest, talented, most-imaginative athletes available for selection.

And still the local game with most to offer.

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