A supporters view!

Photo courtesy of AFL

Before I start, let me say quite clearly. This piece, in fact, every piece, is my view, my opinion. I have no issues with anyone who disagrees with me at all. However, don’t come at with platitudes that are not based on reason or logic, or tell me I’m just wrong. It may make you feel or look better on social media, but it won’t in any way sway me. Given that, here goes.

Like everyone else, I, too, was bitterly disappointed in the team on the weekend. But while I scoured social media reading posts and comments, for the most part, what got me more angrier, was some of these very same comments and reactions. The very suggestion that we go down, once more, of sacking a coach because they have not in the timeline that supporters deem suitable to make the team a top team. Do you really think that by getting rid of a coach who has only been in the job for one and half years that we again, get rid of him only to go down another path of hopefully getting a coach that could possibly, maybe take us to success? Then what? If they too fail in the time frame, supporters demand that we once again get rid of them? Under what rationale does this premise make the club a successful one? Because you think getting a coach who is currently under contract at another club and who said many, many, many times that he will be a one-team coach; that he has all the answers?

Do you think getting another coach will make us step forwards? It doesn’t happen. It never does. Do you believe that firing another coach mid-season will ensure success? David Teague has been at the club as a senior coach for one and half years. I don’t care what the media say; I never have.

This was no more succinctly stated in Nathan Buckley’s press conference upon his resignation, answered a question by Tony Jones who asked if he resigned willingly or was tapped on the shoulder. Buckley’s reply is what every person who thinks that the media are unbiased and tell the truth, are well, delusional. His reply was basically: I can say what I know is the truth, put you in the media will state whatever you want to state that has no semblance of truth.

But my saying this, I know, will not sway some, so I’m going to take it from another way.

Adelaide: Matthew Nicks started his coaching career in 2020, the very same year that David Teague started.
Their last Grand Final win was in 1998. The next time they went into the finals was in 2001. Yes, they have been in and out of finals contention and even making it to another Grand Final in 2017. Then they were hit by a tragedy that sent them backwards and also a year of hell for the club with their “camp”. Yes, they have won one more game than us, but are supporters and the media coming at the club saying his job is on the line?

Brisbane Lions: Chris Fagan began in 2017. The club got the wooden spoon in that year, and then the next finished 15th. Did supporters ask for his head in that year? In his third year, he took the club to fifth place, yet we are asking Teague to do that after being at the club for only one and half years! The last time they won a Premiership was in 2004.

Collingwood: Nathan Buckley started coaching in 2012. In that time, he made the final five times. He took over from a very belligerent coach, Malthouse, who we all know where he went. While he did take the team to a Grand Final, which they lost, he took them to the top eight only five times. Between 2013 and 2017, the team was not a part of the top eight. That is four years in-between, and we are expecting our coach to take the team into the top eight after only one and half years? The last time they won a Premiership was in 2010, eleven years ago.

Essendon: Ben Rutten took over at the start of this year. The last time Essendon made it to the top eight was in 2019. The previous Premiership was in 2000. Rutten, who only took over the club fully this year, and has still a way to go, but given the team he was given, and how he learnt, it is a testament to the club.

Fremantle: Justin Longmuir started at the beginning of 2020. Same as Teague. The team finished twelfth last year. Yes, they are higher up on the ladder, but they are not in the top eight. Yes, they were in a Grand Final in 2013 and lost, and have been in finals contention, but not since 2015. Are Fremantle supporters asking for Longmuir to be sacked?
Geelong: Chris Scott took a team that was in Premiership contention in 2011. He has taken the club to be in the top eight since then, except for 2015. Since then, he has yet to seal that final accolade of winning a Grand Final and lost in the 2020 match against the in-form Richmond.

Gold Coast Suns: Stuart Dew took over in 2018. Since then, they have not made the top eight and given their form over the weekend – they won’t make it this year. Sure they are a new club, only ten years old, but are supporters asking that Dew get sacked since he has not taken the club higher than fourteenth?

GWS: Leon Cameron has been the coach since 2014. It took him two seasons, and then in the third one, he took the club to fourth place. They made it to the Grand Final but got absolutely slaughtered by Richmond in 2019. In 2020 they finished tenth. He has been at the club for now nearly seven years; if he doesn’t get the club to a final position this year, will the Board look to sack him? His contract ends next year.

Hawthorn: Alistair Clarkson is one of the most successful coaches in the AFL. He began in 2005, and in his first two years, the club finished out of the top eight. It was only in 2008 that the team won a Grand Final, and we all know what happened next. His next win was in 2013. It took him another five years to get the team to be in a position that became a team that won three in a row. As a side note, he has said numerous times that he will only be a one-team coach. This has not been in press conferences or interviews but in other avenues of which I have been a party to.

Melbourne: Simon Goodwin took over in 2017. The team has been out of the top eight since then four times. In 2019 the team finished 17th, and last year, ninth The last time they won a Grand Final was in 1964, and the last time they made it to a Grand Final was in 2000 where they lost to Essendon. Melbourne supporters have been frustrated, angry, and desperate to win a flag that they have not done for fifty-seven years! We are complaining because we have not won since 1995!

North Melbourne: David Noble became coach this year. He took over from Rhys Shaw, who resigned midway last year. In 1999 they won a Grand Final. Brad Scott was coach from 2010 until midway 2019. The last time they made it to the top eight was in 2016. Scott had the team for nine years and just could not take that next step to finals contention.

Port Adelaide: Ken Hinkley began in 2013. They have been a dynamic club without question, and yet they have never made it to a Grand Final, but they have not given up on their coach or club because they have seen that a culture of consistency in their coaches is paramount to on-field consistency. He is signed on until the end of 2023.

Richmond: Damien Hardwick began in 2010. It took him until 2017 to get the team to a Grand Final and win it. It took him to 2013 to be in the top eight, yet we are asking Teague to do that in one and half years!

St Kilda: Brett Ratten has been the coach since midway 2019. The last time they were in the top eight was in 2020. Before that was in 2011, and the last time they won a Grand Final was 1966. In 2007 the coach, Ross Lyon, was coach from 2007 and took them to a Grand Final in 2010, where they drew and eventually lost. He then left, and in 2012 Scott Watters took over for two years. After that, Alan Richardson took over and was a coach from 2014 to midway 2019. In that time, they never made it to the top eight. Yet we are asking our coach to be in the top eight after only one and half years!

Sydney Swans: John Longmuir has been the coach since 2011. Since that time, they won in 2012 because the coach before him, Paul Roos, established a culture that is still prevalent today. Roos was the coach of the team for eight years. Both coaches show what consistency and culture will do for a club.

West Coast Eagles: Adam Simpson has been the coach since 2014. He won a Premiership in 2018 and has been consistently either in the top eight or just out of it since he took over. John Worsfold was the coach from 2002 to 2013, where he won a Premiership in 2006. That means it took him four years to get there, and it took Simpson four years as well. Yet we are asking Teague to do the same in one and a half years!

Western Bulldogs: Luke Beveridge began in 2015. He took a club that finished eighth to a Premiership in 2016 after languishing without one since 1954. Before Beveridge, you had Brendan McCartney 2012 – 104; Paul Williams 2011; Rodney Eade 2015 -2011; Peter Rohde 2002 -2004. The Dogs have stuck with Beveridge even though the team faltered after its epic win in 2016.

Now, what has all this got to do with Carlton and Teague? Out of all the teams in the league, we have had more stops and starts than any other club. Yet when the team falters and is not in a position where we want them to be and where they want to be in as well, we call for the coach to be sacked once again! For any club, any team anywhere in the world, consistency in its culture which means consistency in its coaches, ensures a culture of consistency in its playing group and its game. To sack yet another coach and to bring in another in the hopes that this new coach will be better is mind-boggling! It does not! Yes, I agree we actually need better assistant coaches, but if Teague has supposedly lost the playing group, why did Harry McKay re-sign? Why did Crippa come out today in a press conference and state that he is not going anywhere!

We are not the arrogant club that we were when we last dominated the competition, and we have to get that out of our mindset. We have to stop with the continual knee-jerk expectations that supporters want that Carlton will always be the top club no matter what else is happening. It cannot happen and does not happen in the real world, especially when knee-jerk reactions are what the club has done in the past.

I do not and will not subscribe to those who believe that we should once more sack another coach who I firmly believe will get us to where we want to go. We cannot, and history has shown that knee-jerk reactions do not work. We need consistency in our coaches and culture. If we have that, the culture of winning becomes a natural entity, and that transpires on the field.

The bemoaning that we have not won a Premiership for so long is when you look at other teams, not long at all. If you feel that you and yours cannot wait until the day that we make it to the top eight and finals, then that is your right and decision, but we must not as supporters think that the only way to reach the top is to continually go through the same knee-jerk reactions we have done in the past. It has to stop.

I do not agree with those who think there are others who could do better because there is a danger in that. If they don’t, they too will be subject to the nasty and belligerent comments prevalent so far. Instead of taking slow and steady steps to success, we cannot insist on fast, jumping over steps to reach the top and if that doesn’t work, get rid of another coach that will only take us ten steps backwards.

I believe in Teague and what he is capable of achieving. I believe that we will get there as long as we don’t have knee-jerk reactions as we have had in the past. It may take a bit longer, and it may mean games like last weekend do occur, but we will get there. I’m not going to jump off the Teague train like some have who got their ticket then didn’t like the journey. I’m in for the long haul, even if I was disappointed in the performance on the weekend. I’m still on board, and I hope the train goes on for a long journey.