AFL's Steve Collard calls it a day
AFTER helping transform Brothers Bulldogs from a minnow to one of the powerhouses of Wide Bay AFL, Steve Collard has decided to call it a day.
The respected mentor decided against applying for the coaching position for a fourth year after leading Brothers to their first grand final appearance in a decade last season.
His achievements as coach may not stack the trophy cabinet at Brothers Sports Club — three third-place finishes and a runner-up.
But Collard’s tenure as head coach will go down as one of the most stable in recent history.
“When I first arrived here, I would turn up to training and there would be five people there,” Collard said.
“Last year we were getting up to 35-plus out of the track during the week.
“They were made to realise they had to work together to reap the rewards.
“And I was proud of what they achieved.”
Brothers success under Collard came from the coaches ability to bind the team, captain Jamieson Webb said yesterday.
“He bought the side together as a unit,” Webb said.
“He made it clear what was expected of every player and the job he wanted them to do.”
The side followed Collard’s mantra: A champion team will always beat a team of champions.
“We may not have had the most talented individuals, but we played for each other and we have a common cause,” Webb said.
Collard regretted his inability to deliver Brothers its first premiership since 1995.
But after falling 90 minutes short last year, he is certain a premiership trophy is not far off.
“I was really proud of what they achieved last year. It was a great learning curve for them to make the grand final,” he said.
“They’ve taken some huge steps in those last few years and we were the best side all of last year — we just had one bad game.”
While Collard decided against reapplying for the job next season, he did not rule out a return in the future.
“We’ll just have to see how it goes but it’s definitely not something I would rule out,” he said.