2011 Coach's Report

2011 Coach’s Report

2011 saw the Ottawa Swans mature on the field, with three excellent wins over quality opponents, and excel off the field, with a range of initiatives that continued to grow the sport in the National Capital Region.

 The club started the calendar year with its inaugural indoor metro league.  A four-team competition that spanned over 8 weeks through the winter months, this was an incredible way to not only attract new players to the club but also provide more visibility into the sport in the Ottawa area. 

Yaser Abou Elenein returned as assistant coach and was joined by new coaches Chris Lockhart and Luke Walsh.  All three assistant coaches brought a wealth of footy knowledge, skill and commitment, which gave the club its most well rounded coaching staff to date.Tammy Bowen continued in her role as team manager and was a tremendous help to the players, coaches and club through her organisation of pretty much everything the coaches needed, and more.

The Swans were also fortunate to have Mike Lowry join mid-season as team physiotherapist.  Mike kept the players healthy and well taped, which provided the team with a consistent and fit line up week in and week out.  

The traditional Swans preseason program took on a different look in 2011.  It comprised game-based training through the metro league, with skills and fitness sessions in the pool, boxing gym and indoor facilities ensuring the players had a solid fitness base.  

With numerous new faces and a large contingent of returning players, the team gelled quickly and had their sights set on improving on 2010.  For the first time, Canada’s national program, Northwind, held a training session in Ottawa.  This was a great experience for those that participated and gave players a great insight into the skill and commitment level needed to play at a national level. 

The Swans participated in the Montreal preseason cup, entering two teams and winning the title for a third year in a row. Bringing the trophy back to Ottawa was a fitting conclusion to a rigorous pre-season. 

The OAFL 2010 draw presented some tough challenges for the opening half of the season.  The team struggled to adapt to the quicker pace and higher skill level of the top teams.  Compounding this were some season-ending injuries and enforced departures that drastically altered the playing list in the early rounds and created real challenges for the coaching staff.  It took until Round 8 for the Swans to put together a line up that had the confidence individually and with each other to overcome the reigning premiers for their first win of the season.  

The last six weeks of competition is where the team came of age and showed the profits from months of hard work.  It was a true testament to the effort by all in the club for the team to finish the season with three wins from six matches.  This included back-to-back home wins in Rounds 8 and 9.  The Round 11 win on the road, saw the Swans knock off the underachieving Broadview Hawks for the second time in the season.

Throughout 2011, the Swans enjoyed a strong partnership with the Quebec Saints. This arrangement supported both clubs playing in each other’s competitions.  Increasing the game time available to all footy players in the region assisted greatly in player development and will continue to do so in 2012.

Jake Plunkett-Latimer became the first Swan to play 50 OAFL games followed closely by the 50th game for 2011 Spurrell Medal winner, Darren Roffey.   With a few more players nipping at 50 games and some solid recruitment, the Swans will be looking to field their most experienced team in the 2012 season.  Chris Peck received recognition from the OAFL, being selected into the 2011 OAFL All Star team.

I would like to acknowledge the continued professionalism that the Swans exhibit in all facets of the club.  The club’s continued media promotion on local radio and initiation of televised games on Rogers TV has added to the game’s presence among the Ottawa locals.   The team and club continue to be well supported by our main sponsors, The Georgetown Sports Pub and Bushtukah. The Swans are also fortunate to play to at one of the best venues in the OAFL, the Rideau Carleton Raceway. 

I believe the club continues to set the highest possible standards. With a core set of volunteers and continued development as a club, the Swans should be looking to 2012 for even greater accomplishments.

Chris MacLean, Head Coach Ottawa Swans Australian Football Club

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