Will crew spirit be the x-factor on this yr’s AFL?

In what’s shaping as much as be a tricky season to foretell, with upwards of a dozen groups already claiming to have what it takes to make finals, we want one thing else to set the most effective groups aside.

When you have a look at particular person sports activities like golf and tennis, anybody within the prime 50 stands an opportunity of beating the most effective on expertise alone. But some gamers handle to remain on the prime of their recreation no matter that intense competitors.

Tiger Woods in his heyday. Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in more moderen years. Their x-factor is single-minded toughness which fuels a profitable perspective.

When the whole lot rests in your shoulders, that’s sufficient.

However a crew sport with 18 gamers on the sphere on the similar time wants greater than a single winner – or perhaps a handful of them – to succeed week after week, in finals, and from season to season. They should work collectively as a well-oiled machine, a tight-knit household unit.

One which has its completely different components, personalities and skillsets however with everybody finally motivated by the identical finish aim.

This yr may actually take a look at the concept that ‘good’ groups with skilled recruitment, record administration, teaching and bodily coaching usually are not sufficient to play deep into the season.

‘Nice’ groups, then again, have all these attributes but in addition grasp the psychological components higher than the remainder.

These prime groups appeal to and retain gamers, ensuring they’re all synched and psyched for every match no matter who made the facet, the place they’re enjoying, or what their function is that week. Like troopers in battle, they’re ready to bleed for his or her kith and kin, to win each ball as if life trusted it.

Final season noticed so many surprising turns, with good groups being overwhelmed by lesser groups (on paper), and others not having the ability to discover that final piece of magic to get them excessive. Right here, Carlton lacking the finals after a close-call loss to Collingwood involves thoughts. And Richmond shedding the final moments in half a dozen matches.

The issue recognised, each groups have taken measures in pre-season to fill gaps and toughen minds within the occasion of a repeat in 2023.

Pundits nonetheless query whether or not Carlton has the profitable perspective to take house a flag. Others ponder whether or not Richmond is banking on seasoned recruits to get yet another for a number of ageing premiership gamers.

The actual query is whether or not these groups – and others battling it out within the mid-rankings final yr – have one thing further particular to supply in 2023.

Hawthorn players huddle

Which AFL facet has the most effective crew spirit? (Picture by Steve Bell/AFL Photographs by way of Getty Photographs)

To this pundit, that X-factor will probably be ‘true crew spirit’ mixed with an inventory that runs deep throughout all areas on the sphere. One that may stand up to mid-season harm and fatigue issues.

One which has resilience to setbacks and the agility to search out new methods to win utilizing the distinctive skills of every alternative.

Right here, true crew spirit means greater than hyping everybody up on game-day with themes and anecdotes. It’s a sense of shared possession for the ups and downs of a season. It’s how nicely the outfit manages and prepares youthful gamers who are sometimes plucked from distant cities and thrown into the whirlwind {of professional} footy.

Additionally it is how nicely the bodily and training employees are onboarded.

Typically it might come all the way down to small however essential issues like having the fitting mentor and management group, wholesome residing preparations and diets, house and household life… constructing endurance among the many entire crew.

A lot can go fallacious in fashionable sporting equipment. However when the situations within the clubhouse are proper, the outcomes are plain to see. An enchanting yr of footy awaits.

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