2003 06 12 - Bronwyn Evans - Off The Field - Redbacks Cocktail Party

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Redbacks Cocktail Party

Originally posted: 2003 06 12 - 07:43:13 AM

Nirvana! Two Great Swans Functions in a Week!

The history of the Redbacks is that the group was formed when the Swans first came to Sydney. Most players didn't know anyone nor the city. The idea was that Sydney members would "adopt" a player and look after them. Early "duties" included picking the player up from the airport, taking them home for dinner, etc.

The Redbacks have now evolved. Because of the comprehensive player support provided by the Club, this isn't something that the Club wants us to do. For the past few years, the Redbacks have been largely a group that does social functions associated with the Club. Hopefully this is changing. My husband is currently President and we are looking to find ways to support the Club. It was interesting to see how many Redbacks are concerned about the current reported situation and want to contribute to changing the situation.

The players were finalising training as we arrived. We were moved up to the Players' Lounge. Paul Roos came up very quickly. He was introduced to a chorus of "Rooooss". His key comments ....

Last year the Club made a decision, when it was clear that they weren't going to make the finals, that they should focus on rebuilding. They needed to determine where that was going to come from, and hopefully it was within the Club. There were a number of players in key positions to flourish - Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton, Tadhg Kennelly, Nic Fosdike. This year, the Club wasn't sure what to expect. The objective was to unearth the next generation of "super talented players".

The main reason for success was the even performance from all players. The Kangaroos game was an eye opener to this, when not everyone put in the appropriate effort. This weekend is a big one. It is always important to win the game before the bye.

Roos is very happy with how the season is going this year. Regardless, they still plan to give game time to the young guys. Several have come into the team (quite successfully) and the expectation is to introduce another 2 - 3 young players.

Each Redback is assigned a player, more in line with the history as mentioned above. In previous years, our players have been Jared Crouch, Leigh Brockman and Andrew Dunkley. This year, our player is Stephen Doyle. I was delighted to wander over to Stephen and have him remember me as a RWO person! His first comment was to ask how the webiste was going. We chatted about various things for quite a while. Key points are that he is due to start running this week and a return to playing is at best 5 weeks away. He gave a great and detailed story about his injury, but medical details escape me and make me go pale, so I didn't listen closely (this is a girl who fainted 22 times when I cut the top off my finger! sorry)

I was amazed to learn that there is no PR training for the players. I had absolutely assumed this was the case as every time I have met players I have been impressed with their professional, courteous and articulate presentation. Stephen told us how the Team Swans program has given them plenty of experience in speaking and interacting with people, and this has to be good.

Stephen shares a house with Tadhg Kennelly, so we dragged him over for a chat. I'm not sure if many people were aware that he broke his hand at training on friday afternoon, but played anyway on saturday night, with the aid of a few drugs (of the approved kind of course). His hand was still bandaged. As most of you will know, Tadhg signed on for another 3 years recently, which is joy to everyone except his mother! The Club flew her out for his first game and she's been back a few more times, most recently at Easter where she took in 2 wins and a loss.

Of course, I had to spend some time with Jude BSMBH Bolton FSC. My first words were to say that I thought his father was a tough marker - see my last article. Jude is a fantastic representative for the Club, as a fan I am incredibly impressed with his poise and how he relates to the fans. And I admire his guts, determination and effort. This year has been great for him. (end of ad!)

I also spent a lot of time talking to Redbacks. Most people are concerned at the recent revelations about the Club's finances. There is also significant concern about the continuing rumours about Terry Wallace. Most people feel that membership election of at least some Board members is the way to go. Whatever the situation, it seems that many members are keen to see some changes at the Club.

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