150 Years of Australian Football in Queensland?

150 Years of Australian Football in Queensland?

150 Years of Australian Football in Queensland?

Who would have believed this possible in this «Die in the Wool» Rugby League State?

The first game of Australian Football in Queensland occurred in 1866 well before any of the other football codes began to be played in this state. This occurred not long after the first games in Victoria. Some of the men involved in the first games in Victoria were at the forefront of those first games in Queensland. The game remained strong in such centres as Ipswich, Maryborough and to a lesser extent in the capital city of Brisbane until the mid-1880s.

At that time two decisions made around 1886 brought almost the demise of our Australian game in Queensland and allowed for the rise in popularity and growth of firstly Rugby Union and, then Rugby League.

The first decision was taken by the Queensland grammar schools to replace Australian Football by Rugby Union. The second decision occurred when Brisbane teams refused to make the journey to Ipswich to play games. This lead to a falling interest in the game in both towns and rather quickly players sought other sports, including Rugby Union.

Prior to this time there had been some «intercolonial» games between a Queensland combination, a Victorian team and one from Sydney. But in the mid-1880s, there was the first New South Wales versus Queensland Rugby match which created great interest in the other code. This began the rise of the rugby codes in Queensland.

The Australian game struggled into the 20th century, becoming a minor sport played mainly in Brisbane. But during the latter half of the century, country leagues grew in number and strength. So much so, that it is true to say that the game is played in every provincial city and their surrounds across the state.

Many of these country leagues have interesting histories. It is true to acknowledge that, in some areas, footballers might play both Rugby League and Australian Football at the same time.

When the Australia wide national competition began during the 1980s, interest in our national game in Queensland grew rapidly. This occurred some 100 years after the problems of the 1880s with the arrival of the Brisbane Bears. When the Bears and the Fitzroy Lions amalgamated and won three national premierships in a row, the game grew even more rapidly throughout the state as we now had our own team in the national competition.

Now, in the 150th year of our game in Queensland, there is a group of men and women sitting down, sifting through records, programs, newspaper reports and photographs, writing histories of their clubs and football leagues so that our game’s history is preserved for future generations.

The major project is to write a book which covers the whole picture of our game. Many of group writing the histories have contributed sections to be incorporated in this major project.

This project is called Q150 and details of the project can be found on the Queensland Australian Football Forensics web site at http://www.q150.net.au.

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FC Barcelona – The Rijkaard Years

FC Barcelona – The Rijkaard Years

FC Barcelona – The Rijkaard Years

Frank Rijkaard is a world-renowned football player and coach known for his no-nonsense, aggressive style of play. His tenure as manager of FC Barcelona (familiarly known by its fans simply as Barça) was marked by successes and controversy.

The period in which Rijkaard was brought into FC Barcelona was one of turmoil for the club. The past few years had been very disappointing, accentuated by players and managers coming and going, including the betrayal of vice-captain Luis Figo, who left the team to join their rivals Real Madrid. Newly elected FC Barcelona’s new president Joan Laporta desperately wanted to turn things around for the team and began by bringing in Dutchman Rijkaard as manager in 2003. Rijkaard’s appointment came as a surprise to FC Barcelona’s fans due to his inexperience and tarnished reputation.

Rijkaard had made a name for himself as a player for AC Milan years earlier. Although he had played for other teams before and after, it was during his tenure as a player for AC Milan that he was most known. Rijkaard was known for his aggressive style and hot-headed temperament, which brought him many victories and controversy, respectively.

By the time he sat in Barça’s manager’s chair, however, he had his temper under control. He had already done two years at the Netherlands national football team, leading them to the Euro 2000 semi-finals, and two years managing Sparta Rotterdam, where he did not fare so well. This so-so performance seemed to light a fire under the young manager, as he came into FC Barcelona with a new purpose. Rijkaard was now known simply as a no-nonsense manager with little flash. He let his and his players’ actions speak for themselves on and off the field. They were just out to win the match in the most impressive manner possible.

Though he got off to a slow start (losing to arch rivals Real Madrid in December 2003), Rijkaard soon turned the team around. FC Barcelona finished the 03-04 season as La Liga runners-up before Rijkaard brought in new players to round out the team. The addition of the new roster allowed the club to go to win La Liga for two consecutive years in 04-05 and 05-06.

Rijkaard was the first Barca coach to ever win twice at Santiago Barnebeu, their rival’s stomping grounds. He was also nominated for UEFA’s Team of the Year in 2005 and honored in 2006 for his contributions to the European Cup. He also managed the team to a victory in the 2005-06 Champions League, which made him only the fifth person ever to win the European Cup both as a manager and a player.

After these victories, however, came a drought. The following two years were not so great for the team, culminating in a loss to Manchester United in the Semi-Final of the ’07-’08 UEFA Champions League. There was much speculation after this about Rijkaard leaving the club, due to them not winning a trophy for two years. Finally, on May 8, 2008, it was announced that Frank Rijkaard would be leaving the team at the end of the season.

Rijkaard has now been replaced with Barca B coach Josep Guardiola. Many players have left the team and have been replaced with good prospects. What this means for the future of the team has yet to be seen. With the fickle nature of football club presidents and fans, it remains to be seen how Guardiola will measure up to his predecessors.

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Team Spirit – What Causes It?

Team Spirit – What Causes It?

Team Spirit – What Causes It?

Watching the matches in the FIFA world cup, I notice that the national line-ups apparently vary as to team spirit. You might wonder why this matters. Why is team spirit important? What brings it about? And what hinders it?

Sweden’s team spirit

After eliminating very good teams, Holland and Italy in qualifying, Sweden played their part, in sending defending champions Germany home early, by topping Group F. They lack individual talented players, but as a team with a collective spirit they’ve got heart and stand up to the challenge. They do well through determination and organisation.

«Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.» (Helen Keller, deaf/blind political activist)

In keeping with his no-frills squad, the manager had not picked Sweden’s all-time top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The player had angered many of his former fans with what were seen as characteristically self-obsessed comments.

«As a team, we play as a collective, all the players together. With Zlatan, as a person, as a player, he’s an individualist, and the play goes around him. Instead, now, we play more the team all together.» (goalkeeper, Karl-Johan Johnsson).

Every single player has bought into the idea of working hard for each other and having fun together as a bigger group outside the pitch.

Leicester City’s team spirit

Winning the English Premier league, Leicester City is another football team whose performance has exceeded what might have been expected from the sum of its parts.

Leicester had some good players, but looking at the whole squad and comparing it to the so-called «top» clubs, it’s easy to see why they were such long shots to lift the title.

«You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.» – (Babe Ruth, baseball player)

Pundits spotted the players’ sense of team identity as a crucial factor in their success. The squad knew the manager would be there the following season. He persisted with most of the first team players he inherited. This continuity built on the legacy of the club, another cornerstone of a strong team identity.

Team spirit was also helped by the players viewing the objective of the club (i.e. avoid relegation) as one they were capable of achieving. So there was no fear of failure.

Many technical sides defend by playing lots of safe passes and so not letting the opposition have the ball. However, possession makes for a poor predictor of team performance. City were not afraid to play three misplaced passes if the forth move led to a goal. Team members felt positive and proud to be part of a group playing a successful fast-paced counter-attacking brand of football.

Other football teams

Boys playing football need to learn to pass the ball unselfishly rather than dribble past opponent after opponent until they lose the ball. They need to be a team player and not purely an individualist. Some flair adult players have been encouraged to succeed at the expense of collaboration when it is needed.

Professional football squads in England include highly rated players from other countries. These tend to have dissimilar languages, cultures, values and problem-solving approaches to difficulties. This can hamper the growth of team spirit.

Most football managers realise that team spirit can be hindered by voicing criticism of players in public. However leaders vary in their team building skills.

Trade Unions

Without any emerging team spirit within a trades union, industrial disputes would fail. Unity is strength. Members need to identity with the cause and trust each other to sacrifice short-term income. Then they have a chance to negotiate from strength and gain better working conditions and pay in the future.

Personal services

Worker’s morale is important in all walks of life. For example in many organisations dealing with human troubles and personal change – like educational, health and social services, or those to do with spirituality – team spirit can be fragile when one is faced with difficult-to-succeed-with-clients.

Many of these organisations use teams of workers with different types of professional training who may not see eye to eye. Dealing with complex and highly personal matters raises matters of deep principle. This can mean that people can be unwilling to modify how they approach things, leading to a degree of inflexibility. Leaders can help by team building encouraging the giving and receiving of support, communication and sharing. Without this, mixed groups tend to show disharmony as well as collaboration.

«Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.» (Patrick Lencioni, business management writer)

Unpaid volunteers tend to want to carry out their responsibilities on their own terms. With volunteers doing only short hours, team spirit suffers if members have little opportunity all to meet together to resolve different viewpoints.

Heavenly community spirit

When we make friends, we tend to do so with people who share our interests and values. With them we often feel most at home and free to be ourselves. It may be hard to imagine such a sphere where community spirit prevails. Emanuel Swedenborg painted such a picture of heavenly community. In such a scenario there are no rows about how things get done. No egos wanting their own way. People joining together in the right spirit. Only wanting what is best for each other and for the team and community as a whole.

«None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.» (Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun)

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