Mandurah Mail football writer Justin Rake takes on the ups and downs of our Peel Football and Netball League in his new column ‘Rake’s Rave’. Hit the comment button to have your say.
It’s a term thrown around so loosely in footy these days, that it’s often just used as an excuse for losing.
The amount of times coaches, presidents or players at all levels of footy have spewed out that their squad is just re-building, re-wiring, re-stumping or re-plumbing has reached ridiculous levels in recent years, and most of the time it’s just a cover up for god-awful play.
You’re tackle count was low? Oh, well that’s fine, we’re rebuilding. You gave up too many inside 50s? That’s okay, it’s just another brick in the wall. You lost the centre clearance battle by a landslide? No worries, we’re only in the foundation stages.
We hear it time and time again.
But if round one of our local Peel Football and Netball League showed us anything, it’s that last year’s bottom two, Mandurah and Halls Head, mean business when they tell you they’re moving in the right direction.
The usual cellar-dwelling Mustangs hadn’t won a game since May 20, 2017, and had won just four in the last three seasons.
But they stunned the league when they walloped a team that has been considered the competition’s benchmark for over a decade to the tune of 122 points.
Now no one’s losing their heads and betting on Mandurah to win the flag – even their own coach stressed the importance of a level head – but there’s no denying that’s the kind of performance than can turn a club around.
Winning is a wonderful thing, especially in the country.
It drags blokes out of their armchairs and onto the training track, it keeps your bar area filled after games, and perhaps most importantly it revives your regular playing group’s love for the game.
My guess is the training track at Mandurah has been noisier, more energetic and a whole lot more optimistic this week than it’s been in maybe five years.
And it’s probably happy days at Halls Head, too.
Unlike the Mustangs’ cakewalk, the Lightning were forced to earn their three-point win over South Mandurah after surviving a late scare.
But all in all, they have four points on the board after fielding a young side with a new player/coach, and they looked good collecting them.
Their skill level appeared that of a much more senior outfit, and they moved the ball around the ground with poise for the most part.
Fair enough, it’s only round one, and both of these sides are likely to struggle at some point across the season.
But at the very least, we can comfortably say Mandurah and Halls Head are moving in an upwards direction.
Next time I hear someone from either club use the word “rebuild”, I’ll take their word for it.