By Russell Bennett
AFL VICTORIA COMMUNITY CHAMPIONSHIPS
WGFNC v MCDFNL REVIEW – THE WINNING SENIOR COACH
“This is your opportunity for 40, 50 years’ time to be able to tell your grandkids that you were part of history – part of the very first victory for the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition. Who knows what the competition will look like in the future, but you want to be able to say that you were the one who had a part in that first victory.”
They were the final words from WGFNC senior coach Mark Lafferty to his players before they left the rooms and walked out on to the Beswick Street deck at Garfield, and they’re the words that so easily sum up their whole 2018 campaign.
Together, they had the chance to be the ones to kick-start the WGFNC’s interleague run after the false start of last year.
They had the chance to improve the WGFNC’s ranking, one that everyone locally thought was far too low and didn’t fairly reflect on the quality of the competition.
But words weren’t enough – they had to back them up with action… to prove they were better than that.
And throughout Saturday’s clash, that’s exactly what transpired – with the players, coaches and support staff all working together as one, combining perfectly to achieve their goal in what was, basically, emphatic style.
After the game – after it was all said and done – Lafferty was full of praise for the group.
“To have two training sessions together (prior to the clash) – it wasn’t perfect football, but the way you tried to execute it was great,” he said.
“To play that quick (brand of) football with that kind of movement and fast handball – we all tried to do it and ran in waves, and did the little things that made a difference on the day and I think the scoreboard probably flattered them in the end.
“I just wanted to thank you all for putting your hands up to play interleague footy, and I hope that every single person here today walks away having learnt something, having had a good experience, and wanting to come back next year and do it again. “That’s the main thing – we really want to build this, and for people to continue to put their hands up.”
Lafferty had some pointed barbs for Kooweerup, who didn’t have a single player front up for selection.
“Once again, the guys who didn’t put their hands up today, they’re the ones who miss out on the experience,” he said.
“They miss out on representing their league and playing in a high standard of game. “They’re the ones who miss out – not you guys. You’ve all committed and done the right thing, and I hope you all go back to your clubs better for it.”