This is it. The 38th and final FFL Blog of the season. This isn’t going to be very long as anything that has needed to be said or reviewed has been either said or reviewed over the last 5 months, but I have time to say a few words.
It sure seems like a long time ago when I had the idea to try and write a preview of the then upcoming FFL season. It seemed like a good idea, I’ve always liked writing, and I suppose after leaving the Tribes I wasn’t really finished with football, so it was a good way to get the best of both worlds. Fortunately, I’ve improved a lot since then, because those first few blogs were brutal! I’ve gotten better in a way that reminds me of our two teams from the capital, the Bulls and the Black Angels. They played a 0-0 draw in Gent near the start of the season that had me wondering if I was honestly supposed to take either team seriously as a title contender. I think that that game was the low point for both teams and they only got better as the year went on, despite both ending their season the same way – 6 point losses in West Flanders.
As for the Tribes, what can I say about them that hasn’t already been said? The whole Tribes thing has been an experiment, and it’s an experiment that shouldn’t have worked – it can’t be an advantage to train in two different locations, meaning 11v11 work is extremely limited. It can’t be an advantage to travel more than any other team, and it can’t be an advantage that their head coach plays full time as well. However, no team believes in themselves more than the Tribes, that no matter what happens, they’ll figure out a way to get it done. And they do.
The Gators and Lions had high points this season but couldn’t play consistently for long periods. This is pretty normal for inexperienced teams, showing flashes of brilliance but not enough good, solid football. They just need to stick together and the more they train and play together, the better they’ll get. Older players and coaches need to have an influence on the younger ones. This is true for every team, but it’s even more crucial for teams with a lot of youth.
The Shotguns brought a totally new style of offense to our league with their version of the spread. It was definitely a welcome addition to the league, a breath of fresh air, shall I say. While they stayed healthy, they had some success with it as well, but towards the end of the season they didn’t have enough players to get it done, which was especially evident due to the fact that they had to forfeit their last game.
No team, though, had more injury problems than the Titans. It’s hard to use injuries as an excuse, but it’s also hard to do what you want to do on the field with only half of your players available. They also had a tough schedule but again couldn’t manage to beat any of the playoff teams.
The Diamonds were just two plays away from starting 5-0 and giving the playoffs a good shake, which would have been quite amazing given their youth at the skill positions and in their secondary. Although on the other hand, it was neccessary to get the kids in there, and they’ll be better for the experience.
I hope that all teams are spending their time wisely and preparing for the junior season – finding new players and training them up is crucial to any teams’ future success. The most common sentence I heard from coaches this season was : “He was one of our juniors”, and they said it with pride too! There really is something special about training a kid up from nothing and watching him make plays (yes, I was a junior coach in my time too), so I can easily understand the sentiment. It all starts with the kids and with the coaching.
And that’s why them Bulls are going to be so hard to stop going forward. It’s too early to declare them the favourites for 2012, it’s still 8 months until the next meaningful game will be played, but they’ve got the youth and the coaching to be the next dynasty. They had a sniff* this year and will only be satisfied with more next year.
So that’s about it from here. I won’t be posting anything blog-wise until after I get back from holidays at the earliest, and then we’ll be talking about the college football season. Again thankyou to those who helped out and of course to everyone who read throughout the season!
Until next time
* Saying a team ‘had a sniff’ may not be Australian (not sure) but it means that they were so close to success that they could smell it