How I helped Richmond win a Flag

I like to think that I was a contributor to Richmond’s AFL premiership. For overseas readers, this is Australia’s version of the USA’s Super Bowl.

A key to Richmond success was its forward line – fast, skilful and prepared to work hard for each other. Jason Castagna was part of that forward line all of this season.

I was Jason’s basketball coach in the under 12 competition. I was such a bad coach that I think I helped him discover his true passion was indeed football!

Now you might think I’m exaggerating. Not so! As I prepared for the next season another player approached me and asked me NOT to coach the team.

That hurt! I knew I wasn’t very good but I was keen. I read books, attended coaching clinics, devised drills to keep training interesting.

But, as any follower of sport will know, if the coach loses the confidence of his players he has to go. So I closed my coaching manual and took my place in the stands as a spectator.

The player that asked me not to coach went on to play College basketball in the USA. So, out of that team one player played in an AFL premiership team and 2 others went on to play College basketball.

I know it’s a bit of a stretch to think I actually have any influence on Jason’s success. But I’m a Melbourne supporter. We will grasp onto any success, no matter how tenuous.

In all of this I discovered my true talent. That talent was getting out of their way. All 3 players had their own motivation.

All I had to do was get out of their way and let them do their own thing.



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