‘I want this club to be on the path to premierships’

By Andrew Johnston

JORDAN Souter wants nothing more than to see his Blues win a flag.

He doesn’t know when it will happen, and the much loved Souter can’t say for sure if he will be there when it does.

Whether he holds the cup as a Blue — as he said just before the interleague break earlier this season — isn’t really his concern at the moment.

“Since we joined the Murray League in 2006, I think we’ve played finals twice,” he said.

“We haven’t had the kind of success we want to see for our football club. We want to be a team that is regularly playing finals and is contesting for premierships.

“We want this football club to be on the path which leads to premierships, so that is how I see my role as a coach.

‘‘I may not be the guy who lifts a cup as coach, but what I want to do is be the guy who sets us up so the next guy can.

“I want to see our football club be as successful as I can.

‘‘Our club means so much to our town, everyone seems to have some form of connection to the club, you see people out here every week watching the games, having a chat and spending time together.

‘‘It really unites the town, so we want to be able to give something to them.”

Less than 18 months after Souter was named the coach of the club, Tongala have taken steps few could imagine.

Against all odds, the Blues currently sit in the top four of the competition.

It’s a far cry even from the first interleague bye where the Blues were three and three, and almost light years from where the club was when Souter was appointed heading into 2018.

Coach Travis Edwards had stepped aside, saying he couldn’t commit to the club in the way a senior coach was required to.

Not long out from the season, it was Souter who was appointed – putting his hand up to be the man to hold his club together.

“We didn’t approach Jordan, he approached us,” club president Darren Maloney said in early 2018.

“Obviously he put his hand up but he spent time before that putting his resume together and contacting people and getting support. He’s really gone about it in a very professional manner and in the end that is what swayed us.”

Souter said it wasn’t a simple decision, but one he is glad he made.

“It wasn’t one I was going to take lightly, I sat down with my partner and parents and gave it a lot of thought. It was tough, but I’m glad I did make the decision to coach.”

By Souter’s own admission, it was a tough time for the club when he took on the role.

“It was definitely a difficult gig when I took it on,” he said.

“We really only had 30 blokes committed, so we were chasing just to fill the list. It became a goal of holding ground and not losing any for 2018.

“We think we made inroads. The year before we won three games and in 2018 we won five and probably had two or three where we were right in the contest but didn’t get it done in the end.

“We went into recruiting this season with some momentum. We knew we were heading in the right direction, we got everyone committed early, earmarked a few blokes who we got.”

With the added momentum, came more pressure.

“It’s definitely harder,” he said.

“Because of the way things played out last year there weren’t any real expectations.

‘‘That’s not the case this year. We have a lot bigger playing list so you have guys miss out and that is never an easy thing to do as a coach making the call.

“I hate making those decisions. These guys are all my mates, so having to tell someone they aren’t playing is not something I enjoy at all. But that’s the game.

‘‘People love playing, but they also take it on board and go away and work to get a spot, which is the perfect attitude for guys to have.”

As the sides have continued to get better, the Blues are looking finals bound in every Murray League football grade.

With the ones and twos both in the top four, the Blues are well and truly achieving the standard needed.

But, as Souter said, finals is all that matters for the club this year.

“It’s never really mattered to me where we finish as long as we played finals,” he said.

“Whether that is eighth by percentage or a bit higher than that, as long as we are there when September comes around then I will be happy for our football club.”

It seems all but certain that happiness will come, and maybe last deep into September.