On a Saturday afternoon at 5.15pm, a stadium for the first time in its history, filled the air with an incredible atmosphere of passionate supporters. For the first time in its history, it was not a quiet, sedated crowd, but a wonderful mix of cheers, yells, “what-the’s” and “ball”. Two teams came to battle it out for the final spot in the Grand Final. For one team it was to be their first final appearance, ever. For that team the prediction was that they were going to win. They had the talent, the strength and the incredible number of young and exciting players. For the other team, they had battled their way from 7th position, had not participated in any final campaign since 1965, but this team though they had talent, youth and experienced players in their midst, they possessed the one thing that one team did not have, heart.
I said that GWS without Stevie J would not be the same team. People said, rubbish look at the talent they have and the experienced players they had. I replied, sure, but you are forgetting one thing. What is it, they asked. I replied, the unreservedly, uncompromising ability to dig deep when it counted, they had heart and never, ever, ever underestimate what that does to not only a player, but a team.
You see Luke Beveridge took a team of talented players and moulded them into talented players with an inner spirit that would make them dig so deep that they would do what other teams who are full of just talented players could not, win. We saw this in the match between Sydney and Geelong. Geelong had talent but no heart whatsoever. They did not have the pressure, the tenacity or the ability to overcome a very powerful and dynamic Sydney side. It showed.
What has this got to do with Carlton, well, Brendon Bolton is from the same mould as Beveridge and we saw signs of it this year. We saw players who were on the fringe step up and dig that little bit deeper. We saw at times during the year that same heart when we beat Geelong, Melbourne against all the odds and all the naysayers who said we would win no more than 2 or 3 games.
We are not in the same position as the Bulldogs are, not yet. But with more list tweaking, more instilling of an ability to dig that little bit deeper when the need calls for it, we will be in that position.
I am not a Bulldogs supporter, but I love seeing heart win over talent, because in the end you can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t have the heart to go deeper, harder when needed, then you will never succeed. I teared up a bit when the final siren went between the Bulldogs and GWS, I will be a blithering mess when Carlton achieve the same thing and believe me, we will.
Well done Doggies!