Pressure is a privilege
It’s not often that being undefeated after more than half a season coincides with expectations.
It’s hard to win one game of footy, let alone 10 in a row like Mangoplah has done.
And while the Goannas are enjoying every second of a remarkable 2021 season so far, coach Jeremy Rowe knows this is merely the entrée to a premiership main course.
“We want to think we’re only just getting started,” Rowe said.
“We know we’ve got bigger fish to fry and we’ve been pretty open and honest with everyone about how high our ambitions are this season.”
For a team that attempting to end a 28 year drought, Rowe’s Goannas aren’t shying away from doing so in memorable fashion.
While breaking a grand final hoodoo is first priority, achieving such a feat without suffering a defeat is definitely a goal in and of itself.
The last team to go through the home and away season undefeated was the team Mangoplah beat last week, Griffith, back in 2018.
The Swans would go on to lose two finals including the Grand Final, but that same fate doesn’t fret the Goannas coach.
“The way we see it, pressure is a privilege,” Rowe said.
“We don’t buy into the cliché that you need to have a loss and we’re looking for challenges every single week, so if a challenge of an unbeaten season is something that helps us play our best footy then we’re all for it”
But the Goannas biggest hurdle to achieving that goal is sitting right ahead of them in the next two weeks.
“We have a huge test against Coolamon and then Ganmain as well,” he said.
“They’re two teams we always knew we’d be facing at the pointy end of the years and this next couple of weeks will really tell us where we’re at.
In all honesty, we probably haven’t played our best footy in probably about six weeks. We’ve been pretty scathing in our reviews of our performances and we’ve identified that even though we haven’t lost, we really have a long way to go.”
Despite the club’s lofty goals, Rowe has reminded his team to smell the roses every once and a while. Most recently when celebrating Trent Castle’s 1000th career goal.
“We really felt privileged to be a part of that.
It takes a rare kind of player to work on their craft long enough to reach that achievement and to be able to share that with him was pretty special.
Trent has his own little cheer squad of younger players at the club who really love watching him play and giving them that day to remember was really exciting.”
And while Castles’ has been arguably the most high profile recruit in Mangoplah’s ranks in recent years, it’s been the Goannas depth that could well prove to be their premiership winning weapon.
“We’ve used 34 players so far this season, and I can comfortably say that each of them have improved their game in that time.
If this continues, we’re definitely going to have some selection headaches in the finals but that’s a very good place to be and hopefully that will help get us to where we want to be.”