Where Can I Watch The National Championship Football Game Game Preparation – The Pregame Address in Australian Football

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Game Preparation – The Pregame Address in Australian Football

In 1968 I was in my second year coaching the Queensland state high school team that competed in the Australian National Football Championships in Melbourne. Our first game was against Western Australia on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, home of our national game. It was a great thrill for the boys to play there and for me to be the coach.

Below are the notes I talked about or did before our first game in this national football carnival. Before naming the team and giving the pre-game address, I talked to each member of the team and checked how they were feeling.

These are the points I gave the players. As a young coach, I now realize that I probably talked too long and said too many things. But being from the football growing state of Queensland, we were at the tutorial with our boys. We needed to continue to emphasize the fundamentals of our game plan until they became second nature.

  • Play whenever you can. Play hard; tough in front of; inside your man and move the ball wide in the back line.

  • Teamwork: don’t forget to back up; I keep talking; watch closely when the football is two strikes away and keep guarding.

  • The fight must be hard/tough. Challenge everything; smother the ball; and pursues everyone.

  • Positional play:

The wing forwards must play wide; look for crumbs; to be persistent in the face of goals; keep talking and asking for your full advancement.

The back – should be firm; side by side with your opponent; play in your man; and used long shots in the drive. With running backs, the rover must be ahead of the pack and the wings behind the pack.

  • Kicking – always use the kicking when passing or otherwise taking a long drive straight down the goal to the goal line from the centre. Pay attention to the fat ball and wind effects and use them to your advantage.

  • Note that the oval has wide wings and deep pockets. Use the north side of the oval to attack.

  • Warm-up: It’s important to do it well

  • Football will slide. So watch out for the ball flying over the back of the pack in high-scoring competitions. Always keep the football in front of you and play the ball when you don’t pick it up cleanly.

  • Officiating – blowing the whistle.

I emphasized this strongly because in the same game in 1967 in Hobart, Western Australia, he kicked two goals when a defender claimed to the referee that he had touched the marked football twice. The West Australian simply carried on as this occurred to score two goals

Some observations:

  1. There were not many experienced junior club or school coaches in Queensland in the 1960s. So we had to educate the players on the whys and wherefores of the game. That being said, the length of my team address may have been justified. That would not be the case in the 21st centuryst century as I write this.

  2. The team had several players in the squad who were at their second Australian Carnival. Their experience has helped improve the team’s performance, keeping them competitive for most of every game. Fitness and skill levels let the team down as fatigue crept in late in each game.

  3. The players from less successful junior clubs in our team learned quickly from our training program and outperformed their top club rivals. We have often used these players in new positions to see how they progress.

  4. The softer surface in Melbourne was difficult for the players as they were used to the ball bouncing more on the firmer surfaces in Queensland.

  5. The players felt that the referee’s interpretation of the rules was different from what happened at home.

  6. It is important for the reader to understand that the game has changed dramatically since these notes were used. Some may seem irrelevant in the 21st centuryst century.

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