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Coaches Corner: Round 22 (Final Round)

The end of another season. To finish with a hard fought 2 - 1 win against Keilor Park SC in tough conditions at home was fitting and well deserved.

And so it ends. After 13 games at the helm we finish the year fourth. When we accepted the task mid-way through the year, the mandate was clear. Build and consolidate. We needed to bring some stability and by doing so, start to build our own identity and culture as a group.

The most important thing, as we prepared for our move to our new home, was to bring back some respect for this proud and historic club. We needed to give our supporters something to smile about again.

Huge credit must go to the Board who chose to work and invest at a time when we had no chance of promotion, and no threat of relegation. They could have done nothing and chose to right off the year. In hindsight, seeing our club over the last few months I realised they had no choice. The history of this club is too significant to have us languishing.

It has been a very interesting and beneficial 13 weeks. Having this time to get to know the players, the people, the group, and the supporters gives us a head start for next year.

I send a big message of gratitude to the coaching staff. Steve Bebic, Theo Mihailidis and Steve Wardle have been so open, dedicated and professional. We are lucky to have them. But, together we know that we have a lot of work to do from here as this is the beginning.

Behind the scenes, Peter Cauchi has been a beacon of reliability and support. He never stops. Paul Busuttil and John Murphy have gone to a new level and we also thank all the volunteers. Everyone has been so inviting and willing to help.

Mini Roo’s Technical Director, Adam Wakefield has gone out of his way to incorporate the Junior boys & girls and it’s great to see. We want more of that next year.

The biggest debt of gratitude is towards the players. As coaches we wanted to give the existing group the chance but after two straight losses from our first two games in charge we knew we needed to make some informed and methodical changes.

It has been a quick but intense journey of change and the playing group has been immense and willing to work, contribute and learn. I thank all the squad members that contributed (past and present) for their dedication and their effort. Pushing right through to Round 22 was a huge mental and physical challenge.

As a group to find ourselves last after Round 12 and finish fourth after Round 22 is something to be proud of. We know it counts for nothing in Round 1 of next year - but it was our short term goal. The goal was to build and consolidate.

A special mention to John Campalj and all his Reserves group. A huge achievement to win the championship this year. Championships are all special. For me, it was even more special that we saw seven Reserves players in the squad towards the end of the year. A very good sign for the future and another good message to send to our Georgies juniors looking for a pathway.

The club has been through so much. To oversee the transition from our historic home at Chaplin Reserve to the new benchmark at City Vista has been time consuming, stressful and to be fair, a distraction.

They club have done a wonderful job and supported the coaches and players when required.

It has been such an honour and so special to hear our supporters sing and enjoy football once again. We thank them all for their backing and appreciate the patience they have shown. They continue to drive us and provide us with the extra motivation we need.

For now we take some confidence from all the work we have done but look to raise the bar, increase the workload & intensity and push for more next year. It will be a long and busy pre-season but nothing that we haven’t been through before.

See you in 2020.

Eric Vassiliadis

Senior Coach

Caroline Springs George Cross FC

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