Glenelg coach Brett Hand has enjoyed quite the record at the bay in 2021, with the football coaching journeyman praising many factors in his admission of “loving” being back in South Australia.
Previously in charge of the under-19s and reserves at Norwood, before taking up various roles at GWS in the AFL, Hand-guided the Tigers to a 17-1 minor round season this year.
It was a run that saw the Bays runaway leaders for the season, only losing to the Magpies in round 19, and then again two weeks later in the second Semi-Final at the hands of the Eagles.
But despite that, and on the back of a stellar preliminary final win over South Adelaide last week, the feeling for Hand this grand final week is positive, as he’s full of praise for the SANFL competition.
“Before I left in 2007, after being involved with Norwood, the league was pretty strong, and it’s just continued to grow while I’ve been away,” he said.
“The competition has been great.
“Being outside of Adelaide for 12 years I lost touch a little bit with where it was at and just this year, coming back and seeing the passion from the local supporters, the community at Glenelg is just phenomenal, what we see on game day, the way the SANFL have functioned this year, the media.
“It certainly has taken it to a level I wasn’t aware of when I got here.”
There’s been a lot to ponder from the seventeen straight wins he led the side to this year, and with the few bad weeks now seemingly behind them, he believes the form which took them to minor premiership can get the job done on Sunday.
“If we can implement the game plan we want as a footy club and the players can follow what I want to do, and put in place, I think we’re very hard to beat, I think we’ve got the cattle to show that,” Hand said.
“But when you come up against quality outfits and you need to show that you can have ‘what if’ scenarios as well, if they throw ‘this’ at you, how do you adjust to it, and that’s up to us in the box as to how we adjust to scenarios they might throw and how you get the message across to the players.
“We’ve had conversations with the leaders during the week, so they know what should be done on the field without us always having to call from the box.
“We’ve got a great leadership group that can work with me on that and I have confidence in them and our young group in being able to implement that on game day.
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Hand played 17 league games for Norwood from 1989 to 1991, a career prefaced by an underage premiership in 1988.
Since getting the job in December last year, the Broken Hill product moved to Adelaide without his wife and children – who he still hasn’t seen – and was part of a Tigers pre-season camp to the Northern Territory, which both men’s and women’s programs have hailed as “incredible”.
Hand has been impressed by the way his side has responded since losing two consecutive games, and with such a familiar opponent this week, he knows where to iron out the kinks.
“We had a good week leading up, but we were disappointed with what happened in the Semi-Final, we didn’t play our game for the whole game,” he said.
“We started well and we finished well, but those lapses in the second and third quarters just allowed the Eagles to get momentum back and control the game, we can’t afford to have those lapses in big games and against a quality outfit like the Eagles, they make you pay.
“We’ll try and look at how we can arrest that, that’s up to the leaders on and off the field to control that and make sure they’re making the right decisions at times.”
This weekend, in just his first year coaching at SANFL league level, Hand has the opportunity to bring premiership glory back to Glenelg.
Keep up to date with the 2021 SANFL grand final week right here, as The Inner Sanctum has every angle covered.
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