Round 7, a battle between two old rivals took place on the hallowed ground of the MCG in front of over 67,000 supporters and many more watching from their homes, bars, anywhere a Wi-Fi connection would enable them to watch. It was a battle and one that proved two things for me, one on field, and one off the field; the Collingwood vs Carlton match.
On the field, at game time, if you take a real close look at the match, I mean really close, you would sense something that has not been seen in the Carlton team for a while was in the air. You would see something that proves what positive influence can bring to a team of individual players individually and as a collective…self and team confidence. We saw that from the start of the 2016 season and in Round 5 it culminated in a win. Round 6, another win against an old foe, but it was in Round 7, this round that we saw how far a once down-trodden team has come with the simplicity of a positive attitude from the one person who makes a difference in a team, the coach.
If you really listen to what Bolts said in his press conference, you would understand what in just a few short months this person has done to a team in terms of their own belief in their own abilities. On the field, we saw players never give up for 4 quarters, not 3, not 2, but 4! We saw senior players step it up when all they had heard previously was criticism and “turf him out” statements. But more than that, we saw a player who we knew had a great footy ability, come from being the butt of frustrated anger, to one of complete and utter respect -Levi Casboult
If you notice this week, he didn’t play down forward, he played on the wing, in the mid-field. His ability to grab the ball, pass it off to other speedier mid-fielders is inspirational coaching. The fact that he scored 3 goals, yes 3 goals when he hadn’t been scoring all season, is one where every single supporter stood up and cheered every single time he got the ball, because we knew then that in Casboult’s hands it was safe and would result in a desired outcome. That is what comes when a coach believes in what you have and what you can bring to the club.
Now I know that there were standouts in the team, but it is not about the “me” but about the “us” as Bolts said, and that leads me on to the off field “us”. Crippa stated with much pride that he had not heard such an almighty and spine-chilling roar at the final siren, I agree.
As part of the Cheer Squad, the exhilarating noise coming from every one at the final siren is something I have not heard for a while. It was deafening, loud, proud, passionate and bloody fantastic. The supporters as a whole in this match never held anything back. It supported Daisy Thomas every time he got hold of the ball and that goal he kicked sent the crowd into a euphoric uproar. For the first time in a long time, opposition banter with others in the crowd was rife, and it was brilliant. For the first time in a long time, supporters around the ground stood up and cheered, booed and heckled their hearts out. For the first time in a while, everyone could sense and feel what positivism, encouragement and accountability can do for a team that had previously none.
Today I have no voice, a whopping great bruise on my leg from banging into a chair when I stood up on one, but I don’t care. Carlton may not win many games this year, but it may do, but that is not the point, because the point is that this year the “journey” that Bolts started taking this club on is already proving to be more than any commentators could have thought possible. We the true, die-hard supporters believed in what was possible because we never, ever gave up and now the team know what is possible and will never give up. We saw it on, we felt it, we loved it!
#BOUND BY BLUE!