While walking back to the car after the game on Sunday, a family of Carlton supporters were talking about the game in front of me. One member said, ‘The team did not deserve to win.’ Another replied, ‘Yes, but they got the four points.’ The reply was, ‘Well, they did not deserve to win.’ It was difficult, but I did not say anything because in my mind, no matter what the outcome, a win is a win, is a win.
Michael Voss stated, ‘I’m glass half full, no question. We understand that we’re not the finished product. We’ve got things to work on. I’d much rather be learning with four points in the pocket than learning the other way right now. What we do have to understand is what’s real and not real. For us, the work starts again on Tuesday.’
The idea of what is a deserved win or not should not be the issue of, well, any game. If you look at this game, we would have faltered in the past and lost it towards the end, but we didn’t. Yes, we had a massive lead after the first quarter, but anyone who thinks that Hawthorn would not attempt to come back and change their game plan to suit the game’s circumstances are delusional.
Sam Mitchell has been a part of a successful club as a player for a long time. He knows what it would take to change the game around and get the players back into a goal-scoring team, and given that they had won two matches that no one thought they would win, it was inevitable that they would come back.
Carlton has been a team that has not played full four quarters for the past years, which is indicative of the eventual results of those games. Expecting this to change overnight is, well, again, delusional.
It takes time to change a mindset and get that monkey off the back, considering it had been there for a long time and no other coach could actually achieve this eradication.
In Round One, we won against a team that, for a long time, had beaten us every single time. In Round Two, we won against a team that played in last year’s Grand Final. In this round, we beat a team that is in the same boat as we are: a new coach, a new playing style and a mantra. It was always going to be a game that, in the end, would depend on how well each team fought to the very end.
Yes, we made errors. Yes, we gave up a substantial lead, and yes, we only played well in parts. But in the end, it is not the team that deserves to win because of the way they played, but the team that actually does. Does not that constitute a deserving win? Yes, we have to get better at playing four full quarters and not only two or three. Yes, we have to get better in ensuring that the game is one where across the entire game, we are consistent and have a determination that encompasses the whole time we are on the field.
Are we less deserving because we only won by one point? I don’t think so because instead of capitulating as we have done in the past, we didn’t. We deserved that win irrespective of how much we won. Regardless of the lead, we had in the first quarter, we eventually dug deep. We applied a pressure that was encapsulated by the magnificence of the saving mark by Jacob Weitering in the dying moments of the final quarter.
The team had so many great moments in the game from so many players that the message that Vossy is sending is working. Imagine when everything starts to click into place, that we play four quarters, and we do not let other teams creep their way back from a substantial lead.
We deserved that win irrespective of the score. We deserved it because since Vossy has taken over, the change in the player’s mindset is proving to be what we all knew was possible. That is, we have the talent. We have the depth, and we must now continue to learn and ensure that we play four quarters. We are learning and growing, just as Vossy said, and four points are four points.