As the VFL home and away season comes to a close I reflect on the surprisingly disastrous season at Frankston.
With three wins and a second bottom finish, the club recorded their worst season in almost a decade. By round 10 the determination to â€˜go one betterâ€™ was replaced with the excuse of developing the list.
My confusion and frustration now begins. How a team that were a point away from last yearâ€™s preliminary final and may have played in the grand final could forget this so quickly. 2009 should not have been a year to finish bottom â€“ it should have been a year to consolidate on the success of last year.
New coach Shannon Grant has continuously made note of the number of new young players and how they cannot be expected to win the game off their own boots. There may have been new players at the club but there were also a number of experienced senior players who had achieved plenty in their own playing career. Where were these players? Playing out of position or in the reserves without an explanation to why their position changed or when they might have gotten a call up. These senior players played second fiddle to the younger players who had not made the proper transition to the faster, smoother pace of VFL.
If somethingâ€™s not broke why fix it. Grant should not have come to the club, having never coached before, expecting to dramatically change the operations and dynamics of the team. Following the teamâ€™s dream run last season he should have taken the opportunity to work with the players and trust that they could teach him a thing or two about being a good coach. Instead, he came to the club, insulted and infuriated committee members and supporters, and drained morale so much that players no longer enjoyed playing.
A club that once prided on having the drive and edge to stand alone is now the laughing stock of the VFL. Grant did not support his players at the level they needed or trusted that they knew what worked best for each other. Instead new players at the club were been given incredible opportunities (without proving themselves) while other players were essentially spat in the face.
Frankstonâ€™s future as a viable, stand alone club weighs on my mind. With the end of the season it will be interesting the exodus of experienced players. How will the club be successful if the 2010 list consists of first and second year players? How can a club that has fallen so far in just one season not ask what has happened? How can they walk on eggshells and blame everyone and everything else rather than the newest addition to the club â€“ the senior coachâ€¦.