TeagueThe task of who will coach the Carlton FC for 2020 has bee heating up with the hashtag of #Teague2020 gaining momentum and support from not only fans but players as well. I watched on AFL 360 David Teague chatting to the hosts and facing questions from them not only about the state of the team since he took over as caretaker coach but of his own ambition to become a senior coach. I thought the way he handled himself with poise and intellect was admirable. You can see if you look at him when they were talking and speaking to Rhyce Shaw of NM, that he is studying and watching intently everyone around the desk, and chooses his words with a level of respect not only for the Carlton FC, but for his role so far and the process of the club and the level of scrutiny regarding the next senior coach for Carlton.  His self-assuredness in tackling questions fired at him not only then but after games since he took over, is one that cannot be overlooked in terms of what you want from a senior coach.

He has proven his ability to coach given the circumstances in which he took over from Bolts who undoubtedly was instrumental in laying the foundations of the young players we have today. He has made a team filled with talent and potential to make them a team that is now hugely respected and at times, feared. Teague has all the hallmarks of the makings of a great coach. His calmness, his openness and his ability not to stutter or waiver under pressure, and he is under pressure. At every opportune moment, the media world pummels him with questions about the future of his coaching at Carlton and he is handling this with incredible dignity.

I have seen him during Open Training and what he is bringing to the playing group is one of pride. Pride in playing the game, their game, their way and allowing them to develop and fight for their place on the team, but he is someone who is bringing back the sense of the players’ hunger to play AFL and for the club.  He is not mincing words and acknowledges what went wrong at the WC game and how much growth the team has achieved so far and what will be achieved for the future. He is not afraid to be tough when needed, a prime example is the dropping of Mitch McGovern to make him earn his spot on the side and not just assumed it was a “given”.

The surge of support for Teague to become the senior coach at Carlton grows every day and is something that should not be overlooked, in any way. Because this has the capacity to be seen from players from other clubs whose time at their club may be on the line and are looking to see where else they could go to. To see a coach that has achieved what he has achieved not only from the playing group, but from the club as a whole, and from the supporters, would be something that a player will warm to. They will feel that they will be stepping into a team at a club that is on the rise and whose playing group adheres to what every footy club wants to strive for – success on the field and off. To come to a club that is breeding a culture of mutual respect and admiration across the board and a deep-seated hunger to put on the Navy Blue and fight for every single quarter. The fans haven’t seen this for a while and since Teague has taken over, that is exactly what we are seeing.

Personally, I don’t want to see a coach who has the mindset of past glories and a game that has maybe passed them by. I want a coach who understands every single facet of the modern game which includes not only the physical health but the mental one as well. I want a coach who understands the modern game on all levels and what this entails.  For some coaches, the game as a senior coach as passed them by but they would be great mentors.

The club stands on a precipice here with regards to who they appoint as senior coach and I like the fact that they are taking their time and probably waiting until the end of the season. But then again, they shouldn’t wait too long because the footy world is watching all the time and there may be a star footy player out there who is looking at leaving their current club and is deciding where to make their next step in their career.  The signing of Teague could be just the nudge that will make this type of player take that next step and nominate Carlton.

But heed some warning here. Australian’s suffer from the “tall-poppy” syndrome and are quick to raise someone up then shoot them down when they don’t live up to the expectations that the public, well, expect.  If Teague is signed, give him the utmost support and time to develop the club and the team we all want. The foundations are there.