A COLD wet afternoon at Box Hill is a long way from the glamour and glitz of Ethiad Stadium or the studios of Fox Footy, but for the Frankston Dolphins it’s another opportunity to register a win and regain the respect of the football world.
Since Simon Goosey took on the coaching job in 2010, the Dolphins have managed four wins from 42 matches, with all four wins coming against same opponent, Coburg. Winning percentages often are but shouldn’t always be the sole factor when it comes to determining the legacy or talent of a coach.
Sandringham raised eyebrows when they head hunted Mark Williams at the end of 2003 season. Williams crossing to the Zebra’s after six years with the Northern Bullants where for the duration of his tenure the Bullants winning strike rate hovered around 30 %. Sandringham went on to win the next three premierships and Williams has since had assistant coaching roles at Melbourne and Richmond.
So when Frankston again toppled Coburg in Round 5 many viewed the game as Coburg losing again to an inferior opponent, having an off day against a side that has had the ‘wood’ on the Tigers in recent seasons.
A closer analysis of that match reveals that the Dolphins deserved their victory which was built on a dominant second half that included kicking 8.7 to 4. 2 and a staggering 22 inside 50’s to 3 in the final term, but perceptions are hard to change and until the Dolphins produce against other sides Frankston will be viewed as the ‘easy beats’ of the VFL.
Despite a lack of team success in recent years the Dolphins have still managed to produce some quality players who have caught the attention of AFL talent scouts. Michael Hibbered and Mark Baguley have both gone onto being listed by Essendon with the latter close to being upgraded from the Bombers Rookie List after another solid showing against Sandringham at the weekend.
Of the current crop of Dolphins Lachlan Delahunty, Corey Buchan and Jarrod Irving continue to improve and give the impression that they could step up should an AFL club seek their services at season’s end.
As a team the Dolphins have improved to the point of being competitive. Defensively they compare well to Casey, Geelong and Sandringham who currently make up the top four along with the undefeated Port Melbourne. VFL Academy participant Shaun Marusic will further strengthen the Dolphins backline when he returns from injury.
Frankston though have struggled to get a good return on the number of inside 50’s they’ve had all season, which may change when Ben Waite and Toby Thoolen return from injury after the VFL state match.
The Dolphins were again competitive on the weekend, only to fall away late in the game against a more seasoned opponent in Box Hill. The Hawks team that included Clinton Young, Cameron Bruce, Chance Bateman, and Kyle Cheney were well served by promising ruckman Broc McCauley and handled the heavy conditions better than the Dolphins.
At some stage though competitive becomes frustrating as winning is what brings joy to supporters, players and staff. Frankston aren’t far away from getting on a winning streak and whilst finals may seem like a pipedream the Dolphins second half draw means they are some chance of winning a further eight games in 2012 and securing a finals spot for the first time since 2008.
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