OUR win in Perth last week was a very, very special for a whole host of reasons both on and off the court.
On the ladder, it simply registered as an away win but there are certain games that have a different meaning or a different significance to them. This was one of them. Some coaches or players might be tempted to try and keep a lid on things or play it down but it’s a long, tough season and there are certain moments you have to enjoy.
I was particularly happy for Oscar Forman, Timmy Coenraad, Rhys Martin, and also Eric Cooks and Matty Flinn. They’ve all been at the club for so long and have endured the questions about the hoodoo for so long, so for the them to break through is fantastic for them.
I’ve never seen Rhys as emotional as he was in the locker room after the game. He’s normally a pretty poker-faced type guy but the genuine emotion just summed the win up for us.
Even for the new guys in the group, they’d heard about it but just seeing the relief and elation of the older guys, they knew they were part of something special. The belief these guys have now is just tremendous.
On a personal level I was also very emotional after the game, for a myriad of reasons, but the overwhelming sense was one of closure. The trip for Sunday’s game was the last time I went ‘home’ to Perth. I’m very lucky that I get to get up each day and do a job that I love but it’s been incredibly difficult over the past two seasons living away from my family for months at a time .
My wife Suellen is just an incredible person. She’s probably felt a bit like a widow at times doing everything and raising the kids by herself. You miss so many milestones from the school athletics carnival, their weekend sport, parties, you name it but there was always light at the the end of the tunnel because the family was coming over to Wollongong to stay.
It was an incredible feeling to win the game and go back home with all our long-time friends there to just enjoy the moment. Those goodbyes are always hard but I had a really good feeling of ‘my work here is done’ in Perth and it’s time to move on to the next chapter in our lives. The beautiful thing is, we now get to enjoy that together.