When Leeton’s coach reflects on a career spanning three decades, the number of proud moments is countless.
Mick Doolin’s competitive to his core, and so a semi-final loss to premiership team Yoogali SC devastated the squad, and Doolin alike.
Leeton had fended-off Yoogali to hold them scoreless in the first half, and conceded a goal four minutes into the second half, setting the tone for a 2-0 loss.
And Doolin, in defeat, was satisfied with 2016.
A team that experienced comprehensive losses to heavyweights early-on had rivalled the best.
“It was their best game all year,” he said.
“I was proud for all the boys, for getting a bit closer to Hanwood and Yoogali, that was the target, to get up to their standard.”
How did he turn the tide?
“At training we do a lot of drills, we focus on what we think is a weakness within a team and try to strengthen weaknesses,” he said.
“We also pay attention to how the opposition is playing.”
The Football Wagga newcomers relish that they’ll be testing themselves against Lake Albert, Wagga United, Tolland, Cootamundra and Henwood Park in 2017.
“For me, it’s a really good move,” he said.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for the Wagga competition.”
Doolin played and coached in the Wagga competition for three years in the ‘80’s, he took it up again in the 90’s, coaching in Wagga for five years, and again, from 2003-2005, where Leeton played Cootamundra in the grand final.
“The team in the 80’s was a good, knowledgeable team, the ones in the 90’s and 2000’s had a lot of fire and belief,” he said.
“This team, compared to previous teams I’ve coached, their skill level, their ability with the ball is far superior.”
Doolin will lose four players from the 12-man squad in the off-season and will draw replacements from the club’s healthy junior contingent.