End of Year Report - Reserves Coach Paul Litherland

Sunday, January 13, 2019 - 9:19 AM

OUR 2018 reserves season was very challenging, not only for the players, but for the coaches as well. We were a much younger side than last year, with an even mix of experienced reserves and first-year players. 

We played an average of only 1.5 league players per game this season. As such, a great deal of leadership was delegated to those who are the future of this club. It was great to see such players make the choice to take their football to the next level both on and off the field.  

We won eight games and lost 10 in a rollercoaster of a season, which saw us missing out on finals by only four goals. This was a remarkable achievement considering we averaged 10 first-year players per game. I continue to drive the development of this group and I am proud that a great many of them accepted the challenges put to them this season.

We played 50 players overall, including 18 current or graduating colts. I was impressed with the maturity and eagerness of a good number of those juniors, who embraced the big step up to reserves football. We had 11 reserves players debut for the league this season, all of whom showed their potential for the future. This strong approach to development by Todd Curley and I will set us up perfectly for the 2019 campaign. 

Players such as Josh Collard, Zac Dent, Daniel Cabassi and Glenn Byron made clear statements to the senior squad that they are ready to challenge for permanent spots next year. 

In addition, players such as Travis Abbott, Chris Ah Siu, Blair Della Franca, Zac De San Miguel and Seaton Thompson all developed well this year and I am sure, will be pushing for selection every week in 2019. Caleb Datson and Andre Coutinho have also set the bar for those around them and were very close to league selection a number of times this year. I look forward to continuing to challenge all players under my control to better themselves and each other.  

Trent Reed had a tremendous season and was a deserving winner of the Roy McGuiness Medal as fairest and best. In his first season with us having come from Victoria, his consistency and composure was remarkable, especially given he is still only of colts age.   

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our retiring players and to thank them for their commitment and support. To Ryan Cook especially, your leadership and loyalty will be remembered for many years. I also congratulate and thank outgoing President, Haydn Raitt not only for your work as President, but also for your great support of me since I came to the club in 2014.

Thanks to my assistants Michael Hays (forwards), Geoff Barry (backs) and Glenn McCallum (midfield) for your great work and help through the season. Having such great support in the coaches' box makes game day so much easier. Special thanks also to Les Olivieri, Peter Matier and Steve Jones, as well as all of our trainers and strength and conditioning staff. I am honoured to have their support each year. 

Finally, I thank Todd Curley on his continued support and mentorship. His valuable feedback and advice is continuing to help me achieve my goals as a senior coach and I look forward to working with him again next year. 

It will be a massive 2019 season for us all and I am honoured to be part of that journey at such a great club and with an equally great crew.