How much of winning is about the mental challenge?
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Melbourne beats Essendon, Brisbane edge out the Eagles, Parramatta defeats Cronulla. It certainly has been a week of upsets. How much does the mental factor, the coaches perspective and the players belief systems play a part?
Melbourne had established something of a hoodoo over Essendon in past years. They took that into a wet and slippery set of conditions and edged out the Bombers.
On a dry night, I’d see Essendon winning by seven to eight goals. On a wet and slippery night, conditions tailor made for slowing the game up, Melbourne clung on and got more and more belief as the game crawled forward.
They took enormous heart from the fact that Essendon didn’t have a 50-point lead at half time. They could compete as long as Essendon didn’t or couldn’t make a factor of their superior speed and height.
And so it set off a chain reaction.
Brisbane saw what Melbourne did.
In firmer conditions they knew they had to run with the Eagles. They couldn’t depend on mere home-ground advantage. They had to lift well above themselves.
The Melbourne win sewed the possibility of a win into their conscious.
Brisbane clung to the Eagles like limpet mines. Never was the Eagles lead any more than 21 points, in the third quarter. If it had reached 27 or 33, that would have been game over.
But on a ground that was like playing under set conditions – almost like Etihad Stadium under the roof – and with the ball travelling up to 70 metres, Brisbane clung to survival and fluked a winner.
But the effort was superior to even that of the Demons. The Lions have every right to roar their theme song and make this win the basis for many more.
Meanwhile, the Eels beat Cronulla on the back of six straight losses.
Yes, they were at home. Yes, they were due.
Yes, Cronulla were injury and Origin-hit, as were the Bombers and the Eagles.
But seasons are built on wins like this, so long as you believe.
The test now for these three teams is to take these wins and build a platform and a belief system that makes a statement.
‘We will compete for every minute we are on the park; we will work out a system for each game and stick to it; we will not let injuries kill us,’ must be the mantra of these three clubs.
‘We will aim for nothing less than a 10-20 point win every week, no matter who the opposition is.’
Flight of fancy, or grim, determined reality? You makes the choice.
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