Long journey to the top

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Lions coach John Baggetta was one of several undisputed “lion kings” at Brunswick Oval on Sunday.
Camera IconLions coach John Baggetta was one of several undisputed “lion kings” at Brunswick Oval on Sunday.

Although Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault won the 2019 SWFL grand final over the Eaton Boomers on Sunday, the seeds of premiership success were sewn in the early months of the year according to Lions club president Craig Carbone.

“The busiest time of year is before the first game is played,” he said.

“So from virtually the second week of January, pre-season starts and you are busy getting hold of players, working out what gaps you may have or if you need any recruits.

“Then it is about getting them fit, where you are going to get the money and sponsorship from, along with going out and seeing all of the sponsors.

“It’s actually a sizeable leap when that first game is actually played. Because those few months before really is the pressure period.”

Amid the hundreds of Lions supporters who cheered success in both the league and reserves grand finals, Carbone feels it is a fitting product of the club's commitment to providing a pathway for junior players within their catchment area.

“The last time I was president of the club 23 years ago, some of these boys were not even born,” he said.

“So to see them play junior footy and all the way through, it is very heartening.”

Carbone confirmed the club would meet within the next month to review the season, along with league coach John Baggetta’s plans for 2020.

“I think John has indicated he would like to continue,” he said. “Obviously within the next month we will reflect on the season that has been.

“He know doubt will come to us with a few suggestions and we have probably got a few suggestions of our own.”

Baggetta told the South Western Times he would wait for the discussions with the board before confirming his plans for next season.

Another Lions stalwart who was wearing a broad grin throughout the week was co-captain David Newman.

An extremely loyal player, Newman somewhat erased the heartache of being omitted from the 2017 grand final, by starring for his side on the biggest day of the year.

“I have spent the last 14 or 15 years of my life there,” he said.

“I love the place and I would never play anywhere else. The club just brings so much to everyone and the whole town.

“It is just such a tight-knit family group and that is the main thing.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails