Rodney Eade may only have been at the helm of the Gold Coast SUNS for a handful of months, but he’s been in this situation before. And it is this experience that stops him from making bullish predictions on ladder finishes and season projections.
The former Western Bulldogs and Sydney Swans mentor knows expectations have been elevated this season. But, Eade believes more than three quarters of the competition would be aiming realistically at playing finals in 2015. So, his side, in their fifth year, will be aiming as high as possible this season.
Pressure and football go hand in hand and Eade is well accustomed to the burden of expectation associated with his role. Whilst the goal is finals, this season won’t simply be defined by premiership points.
“Sure, the expectation is to finish high. I would have thought 14 of the 18 clubs would be aiming for the finals. If you don’t aim, you’re not going to get there,” Eade told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“It’s more about the players not feeling that so they can just go about their job and what they have to do.
“If we fall short there are going to be reasons for it and we’ll take the emotion out of it and work through why that happened and try to improve.
“I know some people have spoken publicly about it and put it on the agenda but internally we’re aiming as high as we can get.”
The Melbourne football fraternity has placed large expectations on the SUNS this season, with many experts and aficionados predicting a leap in output this season and a maiden finals berth.
A handful of coaches have recently proclaimed how tight the competition is this season, with Eade firmly stating it is not a given that his side will reach the finals this year.
“I can tell you though it’s not a lay down misere. Some people in Melbourne think it’s a lay down misere and that’s not the case,” Eade said.
“It’s a pretty tough competition and we have a long way to go and a lot to improve and we’re still a really young list. There’s a lot of learning ahead of us.”
At this time of year, journalists, commentators and analysts want a prediction from within the inner sanctum. They want to know how many games each club is aiming to win. A measuring stick used to hold a coach accountable.
With more than a decade of coaching experience to his name, Eade knows that just like a weather forecaster, you can’t win by predicting the future.
“If you are going to make the finals you need 12 wins but I’m not going to put a number on it. We might win 15, we might win 10,” Eade said.
“I don’t particularly believe in talking about that, it only come back as a millstone around your neck later in the year.”