An open letter to the NFC family-
The pain and disappointment that overcomes you straight after losing a grand final is something that I hope we as a club never have to feel again. The siren goes, the opposition are jubilant and the numbness that overcomes you is impossible to explain and hurts to reflect on. I don’t think I can put into words the emotions the group felt as we watched North Adelaide receive their medals and the premiership cup, only to exit the ground in a sea of red and white confetti. Unfortunately, in sport there is always one winner and one loser.
I certainly can’t speak for the whole playing group but it felt like at any moment during the match we were about to crack it open. To North’s credit, every time we started to shift momentum they answered almost immediately. Our intent was to come out hard, be aggressive with our attack on the footy, the man and with our ball movement. To play footy on our terms, the way we had played for the majority of the year.
The start didn’t go according to plan. It probably took 10 minutes for us to settle into the match and by that point North had kicked the opening 3 goals. It didn’t faze us and we had proved throughout the year that at any stage we could overcome momentum and get the game back on our terms. It did shift, and we dominated the second half of the opening term, only to be inaccurate in front of goal and trail by less than a kick at the break. I will add that it’s been well documented that we have been inaccurate all season but it has been something we have looked to rectify at training as group.
There were some key moments in both the second and third quarters where it felt like it was going to click into place and we’d be on our way. From memory, Griggy hit Flippa with an absolute bullet in the second, we missed the shot and the resulting point led to Mitch Wilkins and Matt Fuller colliding heavily, with Mitch breaking his jaw. North managed to scramble a goal, followed immediately by another which halted the momentum we had obtained and failed to capitalise on minutes before. When Shents kicked the goal on the ¾ quarter time siren there was the sense that we were about to step it up a gear. Our group had won from far direr situations and we believed we could score fast and win from any position. Again, North kicked goals quickly and were able to answer any challenge we threw at them. Full credit to them, to come from 5th, be 8 goals down in a Preliminary Final to then win the Grand Final is an amazing achievement. Unfortunately for us, we as a club didn’t get the reward that we deserved but a coach once told me you don’t deserve anything – it has to be earned.
We’re a proud and experienced group and it hurts to know that that’ll be the last footballing experience we share as a team. Playing SANFL is a significant investment in time and effort. It takes a lot of sacrifice, not just by the players, but from the support staff, the coaches and all of our families and friends. Thank you to all for your contributions and support throughout the season. In particular, thank you to Matt Fuller, Ben Jefferies, Callum Bartlett and Darren Savaidis for their efforts in driving standards and making our club such a wonderful place to be.
Thank you for all of your support in 2018. Having over 40,000 fans at the game with well over half being Norwood faithful was an amazing experience to run onto the ground to and play in front of. I wish we could have rewarded you and brought the trophy home. Do we need to throw the baby out with the bath water and start from scratch? No. Do we need to improve? Most definitely yes. We’ll leave no stone unturned in being as prepared as we can be to climb the mountain and conquer it in 2019.