COLLINGULLIE-Glenfield Park coach Brett Lenon has revealed how Sunday’s opponents, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, unintentionally helped the Demons make the Riverina League grand final.
Just days out from the biggest game of the year, Lenon opened up on the breaking point mid-season that turned the reigning premier’s season around.
The Demons suffered their biggest loss of the season when they managed just three goals in a 60-point belting from the Goannas in June.
A subsequent loss to Wagga Tigers put the Demons outside the top five and had their premiership defence in free-fall.
Lenon revealed that loss to their arch-rivals helped get Collingullie back on track, to the point where only MCUE stand in their way of back-to-back premierships.
“Things happen for a reason, I’m a big believer of that,” Lenon said.
“Them early results have well and truly helped us get to where we are now.
“It was a really good kick in guts for us, the second time around, which was when our season started turning around.
“When things are going good, you don’t have to change anything, but when you get a kick in the guts, we’ve got to change something, we’ve got to get on board and go forward from here.
“It actually helped us get us to where we are.”
Lenon said the loss reignited the fire inside the Demons playing group.
It actually helped us get to where we are- Collingullie-Glenfield Park coach Brett Lenon
“Early in the year, I guess coming off last year’s premiership, hunger was a small issue,” he said.
“But that game really jolted us into gear.
“It really hurt the boys and it did jolt us into action.”
Lenon explained a change in attitude was the most important shift that influenced the turnaround.
“Atttiude is the biggest thing, we’ve really pulled together,” he said.
“We had our backs against the wall a fair bit this year and I firmly believe that’s helped us prepare for Sunday.
“The boys really gelled, they came together, they started working harder, mentally, and their attitude has changed for the better.”
Now the Demons are there on grand final day again, and with plenty of momentum after three sudden-death finals victories.
Lenon said there was no doubts at Crossroads Oval about what his team can achieve on Sunday.
“Once your there, you obviously put a lot of work into getting there, it’s a massive achievement just to make it to a grand final,let alone win one,” he said.
“There is a massive firm belief that we can go and win it.”
He added that the tough road in has only helped his team.
“Mentally and physically yes, we’ve had to be up for longer than four weeks to tell you the honest truth,” he said.
“But mentally they’ve grown...and that’s because of the hard track in.
“They’re mentally tough, they’re battle hardened and they’re just ready to go, ready to finish the job.”
CGP are unlikely to change their 22 for Sunday.
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