Chappy book on Goddard and Hird

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Paul Chapman book extracts: I found Brendon Goddard too self-centred
PAUL CHAPMAN HERALD SUN OCTOBER 24, 2015 11:59PM
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WHEN I first joined Essendon I was excited to play with BJ (Brendon Goddard). He did a lot of talking and at first, I enjoyed listening to what he had say. He reads the game well. Unfortunately I found him to be too self-centred. At Geelong I saw first-hand how effective that selfless attitude could be, so listening to BJ was like lighting a short fuse.
At the start of my career I was selfish. I was worried about getting a game each week and if I did play, it was about kicking that spectacular goal. Then I learnt about trust and self-sacrifice and how far it could take you and the team. I learnt to restrain myself at the times that mattered so I would be more predictable to my teammates and I stopped trying to snag them from the boundary.

BJ is a perfectionist. In terms of preparation and the standards he sets on and off the field, he is a very good leader. He demands that players get into the club early, train as hard as they can and leave better players. In meetings during the week, he delivered good messages but was very abrupt. Not everyone likes that tactic, but more importantly, not everyone responds to it. That’s fine, but if you are abrupt all the time it loses its edge.

When we played Geelong in Round 15, 2014, it was naturally a game I wanted to play really well in. Unfortunately I didn’t. We were getting flogged in the first half and Brendon was getting very frustrated, as were we all. There were Geelong blokes everywhere when BJ screamed at me, “Where’s your man?” I said, “Right there, where the f*ck is your man?” Then his eyes seemed to glaze over and he lost his cool.

His reaction was completely futile. I was frustrated because we weren’t playing well and I had seen him react like this in the past. Someone had to put a stop to it but I let it slide. I remember thinking how bad it would look if we were at each other in the middle of play. Plus, his whole tirade was nonsense to me and frankly, I couldn’t be bothered.

I told him after the game that he shouldn’t speak to our young players like that. I could handle it because I never really took anything personally anyway. And what I really saw was a bloke cracking under pressure. It was something I had never witnessed before from a leader and a player of his calibre. Even my ex-team mates looked at him in disbelief.

AFL Rd 16 - North Melbourne v Essendon
Brendon Goddard talks to Cale Hooker during a match. Picture: Getty
Later he denied that what took place out on the field even happened. That didn’t surprise me — the person I saw out there was detached and in a very different place.

Coaches want physicality and strength of character but there is little room for perfection — one bloke can’t be faultless at the expense of others. Footy doesn’t work that way. I watched BJ trying to communicate more effectively but as soon as situations didn’t play out the way he wanted them to, he would snap — pointing fingers and screaming at his team mates. I think he’s wired that way.

What I found most irritating was his unwillingness to do exactly what he was expecting others to do. At St Kilda under Ross Lyon he played that loose man across the back. He’s a very good kick so was always one of our first options but not if it meant he was going to wait back to rebound the footy and not pick up his man.

Times have changed yet he still plays that same role expecting everyone else to pick up their man while he sweeps across the back. By the time the ball was kicked forward he was still sitting back. So we were either outnumbered up forward or if we turned the ball over, the opposition would have a free player until the ball got back to him. It just didn’t work for our team and we certainly couldn’t accommodate it within our structure or game plan. Strangely though, very few people raised the issue with him.

BJ’s on-field bakes and sprays after the siren weren’t always a bad thing. In fact, I didn’t mind some of them. His experience meant that he could see something in the game that needed to be fixed so it was the start of our conversation to improve our game. His motto was, “I’m not here to be liked, I’m here to be respected” but I think he took it too far.

Unless he was controlled and his message had some merit, he didn’t earn a lot of respect. At Geelong he wouldn’t have lasted a minute. I know this because in many ways, I was Geelong’s version of BJ in my earlier days. My criticism wasn’t constructive but I didn’t deal with harsh feedback well. My insecurities had me believe that it was a personal attack and these guys simply didn’t like me. Eventually I realised that I had to take it on board and deal with it — it was for the benefit of the team.

Brendon Goddard talks to Brent Stanton. Picture: Getty
Brendon Goddard talks to Brent Stanton. Picture: Getty
Around the club, everyone loves BJ as a bloke. He cares for people and has some great mates there. He and Hirdy also had a good relationship. Footy clubs can be strange places. We literally put our necks on the line so we expect a lot from each other but it is also just another workplace. It’s business. When the day ends, you go home.

Why didn’t I say more when it came to BJ? At Geelong I would have, but I was comfortable there and consequently, more confident. At Essendon, I was conscious that my time there was short so if I flew off the handle, I risked losing people.

If you ask BJ, he reckons we have no leadership in the forward line. It really ■■■■■■ me off when he said that and I took it personally. The young guys want to do the right thing but sometimes they get lost in the game. There was nothing stopping him from coming forward and helping us out. He’s a great shot on goal and can mark the ball well above his head.

I really enjoyed playing next to him down forward. But again, if he put his money where his mouth is, it would help the team in more ways than one. Jake Carlisle is another young player who could make a great forward. During the year I explained to him that, unless he picks up his work rate, if he leaves the club, no one will notice that he has gone. He needs to train harder. The club doesn’t want him to leave but if he did, he should want to walk away leaving a massive hole at Essendon, like Paddy Ryder did.

PLAYING UNDER HIRD
THE first time I met James Hird was in 2014. I was excited but reluctant to play under him. Some clubs can’t let go of their champions. Because the club held him in such high regard, I had a preconceived idea that his ego might be bigger than the footy team and even the club itself.

I spoke to a few people about it, John Elliott, our player manager, being one of them. He said Hirdy was a very good coach and someone I would love playing for. He was right.

From the start I loved what he stood for. He was only focused on his plans for the year and playing good footy. He made me feel like an integral part of the team and was interested to hear my point of view.

Was he a good coach? Under the circumstances I would say yes but it’s impossible to assess his capabilities without being able to peel back all the layers that prevented him from doing the best job that he could. There was just so much crap going on.

At times, he was a little inconsistent in his messages but I am more inclined to blame the players and all of the other issues, than Hirdy for the 2015 season. His systems were good. The players respected him and for most of the season, at least until a few weeks before he left the club, I still felt they were playing for him.

I don’t think Jobe was too keen on the idea of Hirdy coming back as coach. He was understandably a bit wary and initially quite reluctant. But I think they developed a very good relationship during the season. Hirdy is a really decent person — a loveable sort of guy. There are so many positive aspects to him.

Despite his departure, I don’t doubt that he still really cares for the Essendon Football Club. He definitely loves the players. 2015 didn’t play out as we had hoped or anticipated and we certainly didn’t build on 2014. Now, it’s easier to see why — the players and the coaching staff were trying to overcome the adversities associated with the drug saga and focusing solely on football was near impossible.

Paul Chapman loved playing under former Essendon coach James Hird. Picture: Wayne Ludbey
Paul Chapman loved playing under former Essendon coach James Hird. Picture: Wayne Ludbey
I personally went into 2015 hoping to make a big impact on the field. It didn’t happen. The fact that my coach and my team mates were distracted was unfortunate but I can only really blame myself for my own performance. I hope the boys are able to take big steps forward in their development next year. They deserve ultimate success.

Hirdy was stood down as senior coach with three games to go. I suspected that it was on the cards but was surprised that it ended so abruptly and before the end of the season. We all loved Hirdy but the consensus was that it was probably the best thing for the club.

The state of affairs just prior to him leaving was not, by any stretch, his fault. But the negative press was heavily concentrated on him and it seemed as though the media wouldn’t relent until the inevitable happened. In turn, the club and the players were caught in the crossfire.

As a consequence of the drug saga, I felt that Hirdy wasn’t given the freedom that senior coaches need to run their club effectively. There were too many chiefs and not enough Indians. It was as though he couldn’t make a move without having people looking over his shoulder. Yet no one would stand up and call the shots and everyone was walking on egg shells, for fear of making another poor decision.

I imagine he’s at home now, probably hurt by what transpired but he certainly shouldn’t be ashamed. When he walked back through those doors at the start of the year, he faced an enormously challenging task. It takes a truly resilient person to put the Club and its players before himself, especially after all that happened. I’m thankful that I had the chance to get to know him as a coach and a person.

If he wanted to get back into coaching, it would be a good thing. If the timing is right, he could be the right man for the job.

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH STEVIE J
WE had a bit of a weird relationship — the friendship took some work. When we lived next door to each other in Highton, we hung out quite a bit.

When he was banished from the club early in 2007 I would go over and keep him informed as to what was going on, what we were working on and things I thought he needed to know. Even though we didn’t have the greatest working relationship at times I thought it was the right thing to do so I could get to know him better and so he didn’t feel abandoned by his football club.

At that stage I thought we formed a respectful relationship. I don’t think he would ever go out of his way to hang out with me now but we could have a beer together and be amicable about most things.

In some ways I was hard on him and he was hard on me. There were things that he did that I just couldn’t let go and I still stand by them today, such as trying to do too much and putting himself before the team. If we were all expected to change our game for the benefit of the team, then everyone should have been involved.

I tried to be more predictable and Stevie wasn’t that type of player. But there were things about his game that I loved, such as the way he could set up his teammates.

Paul Chapman says he had a weird relationship with former Cats teammate Steve Johnson.
Paul Chapman says he had a weird relationship with former Cats teammate Steve Johnson.
People would make excuses for him, like Stevie J sees the game three or four steps ahead. I didn’t buy it — most of us knew how things were going to pan out as long as we were predictable. But there is no doubt he has a great footy brain. His comments in meetings were always interesting. I think his knowledge of the game would serve him well if he decides to go down the coaching path.

We had a few dust-ups at training. We were both very competitive and there were times when I roasted him for being selfish. He didn’t like it. So there would be a hard ball between us at training and it was on. Not ridiculous punch-your-teeth-in stuff but enough for blokes to have to split us up.

Stevie and I were called into a few meetings to talk through our issues. He said my attacks were personal. I understood why he thought that but it got to a point where I felt I had very few options left — he had to stop making selfish decisions and conform to the team way. At least I was honest with him, that was really important for me and one thing I hope he can appreciate. Whether he liked it or not, I respected him enough to say things to his face, not behind his back, as some of the others had done.

Off the field, Stevie is a funny guy — good to be around and great for morale. He would get ■■■■■■ and talk about himself, as only Stevie can. But his humour was always very much appreciated.

Originally published as Chappy: I found Goddard too self-centred

Like Chapman’s summary of Carlisle’s work rate. Always got the impression Carlisle ‘cruised’ his way through games. Wonder if he’ll take the next step at St Kilda?

With Hird, it truly is a crying shame he never got the chance to coach without all the distractions. Chapman would know what qualities a good coach needs and he believed Hird had them.

It’s interesting that BJ cops criticism for his lack of team orientation, from all and his sundry, but yet he performs well in the B and F.

Seems to be a disconnect between the coaches and the players and the supporters.

Maybe, just maybe you should be writing an autobiography while you’re still a player, and release it months after you retire… but thats just me.

Good read.

Spot on re BJ…one of my favourite things this year was when Dys pulled him into line in the Port game.

Can feel the respect for Hirdy, also adds weight to my thinking that Jobe played a major part in Hirds ‘resignation’

Thanks for posting Scorps.


Jobe played no part in his resignation, he only tried as captain, to see the bigger picture as often as he could.

Jobe is the only person at the club bar Hird to have worn this whole mess publically , but stands to lose more from it. We could be found guilty but Jim would never have a question over his playing career. Think about that for a minute before you throw Jobe under a bus.

So you know categorically that Jobe played no part whatsoever in Hirds resignation?

Only offered his opinion after Jim had handed it to people who asked for it.

Besides, it’s a captains perogative to speak for the playing group.

Firstly how can you possibly know what he said and when?
Secondly no one is disputing he has the right to speak.

Good read.

Spot on re BJ…one of my favourite things this year was when Dys pulled him into line in the Port game.

Can feel the respect for Hirdy, also adds weight to my thinking that Jobe played a major part in Hirds ‘resignation’

Thanks for posting Scorps.


Jobe played no part in his resignation, he only tried as captain, to see the bigger picture as often as he could.

Jobe is the only person at the club bar Hird to have worn this whole mess publically , but stands to lose more from it. We could be found guilty but Jim would never have a question over his playing career. Think about that for a minute before you throw Jobe under a bus.

So you know categorically that Jobe played no part whatsoever in Hirds resignation?

Only offered his opinion after Jim had handed it to people who asked for it.

Besides, it’s a captains perogative to speak for the playing group.

Firstly how can you possibly know what he said and when?
Secondly no one is disputing he has the right to speak.

Who cares about Jobe’s opinion ? - It’s not relevant in the grand scheme of things, unless you want to push your Hird conspiracy line.

Good read.

Spot on re BJ…one of my favourite things this year was when Dys pulled him into line in the Port game.

Can feel the respect for Hirdy, also adds weight to my thinking that Jobe played a major part in Hirds ‘resignation’

Thanks for posting Scorps.


Jobe played no part in his resignation, he only tried as captain, to see the bigger picture as often as he could.

Jobe is the only person at the club bar Hird to have worn this whole mess publically , but stands to lose more from it. We could be found guilty but Jim would never have a question over his playing career. Think about that for a minute before you throw Jobe under a bus.

So you know categorically that Jobe played no part whatsoever in Hirds resignation?

Only offered his opinion after Jim had handed it to people who asked for it.

Besides, it’s a captains perogative to speak for the playing group.

Two things

  1. I wasn’t criticising Jobe, certainly wasn’t throwing him under a bus or any other vehicle. Just makes sense that the tipping point was the players. I don’t recall a lot of support for Hirdy in those last few days from the Watsons.

  2. To say Jobe is the only person other than Hirdy to have worn this publicly is nonesense.


I meant at that intense level

So whats his name , the sniffer you know ex22 thinks he’s off BJ’■■■■■ list. Recon old Riewolt has penciled his name and highlighted it 20 times with different fluro colours at St.Kilda.

I hate footballers, politicians, and just about anyone who retire from their profession and then take a whack at their former colleagues.

Don’t really give a fark what Chapman thinks of anyone, he just should have played more games and kicked more goals.

Wait, what? It is okay for all and sundry on here to debate, scrutinize, empathize and opinionate to the 'enth degree on all things related to the club, but the players can’t. Or do you mean they shouldn’t have opinions in the first place? Going by your first statement, we should all just be mute at work as well.

Have l got it right?

In regards to Carlisle: During the year I explained to him that, unless he picks up his work rate, if he leaves the club, no one will notice that he has gone. He needs to train harder.

Yep, spot on Chappy.

That’s not true, we will very much notice the no 5 draft pick we get, and bird

“Hirdy was stood down as senior coach with three games to go.”

Stood down, eh?

BJ is a perfectionist. Imagine walking into our club and being a perfectionist. I'm surprised he has gone off his nut more to be honest.

He is dead right about the forward line having no leadership, it hasn’t since lloyd retired.

Nothing wrong with being a perfectionist. However like Chappy says or portrays, you have to be willing to do what you preach, and a score out of 10 for manning up he’d be a 1 at most.
You want people to man up their opponent, that’s fine, you just make damn sure your opponent is floating around winning the ball, or that you don’t point others to chase your man when you can’t be bothered or it doesn’t suit the importance you’ve created in your own head about your role.

The forwardline having no leadership is a connundrum, cos in some aspects it’s true, in others it’s not. No amount of great leadership up there is gonna save a ■■■■■■ performance by players who are panic merchants up the field, or poorly skilled, also if the gameplan is poo to begin with then again no amount of leadership up there will do squat.

I’d say chappys remarks about goddard being insecure sum things up perfectly. I got no problem with him cracking the whip and expecting above and beyond players, but you have to lead from the front if you want respect doing that, not cracking the whip from behind expecting everyone else to do the hard yards.

this isn’t a ross lyon coached club where you have 20 odd players parked in the backline so you can wander around and hunt the ball with immunity.

"Hirdy was stood down as senior coach with three games to go."

Stood down, eh?

By Jobe, keep up

I’m looking forward to Goddard’s book…

“People I hate”

I'm looking forward to Goddard's book...

“People I hate”

And courses I like

For balance re BJ… If he never played a game for us… Not one… His media work throughout this nightmare has more than earned his salary. He has been magnificent.

Good read.

Spot on re BJ…one of my favourite things this year was when Dys pulled him into line in the Port game.

Can feel the respect for Hirdy, also adds weight to my thinking that Jobe played a major part in Hirds ‘resignation’

Thanks for posting Scorps.


Jobe played no part in his resignation, he only tried as captain, to see the bigger picture as often as he could.

Jobe is the only person at the club bar Hird to have worn this whole mess publically , but stands to lose more from it. We could be found guilty but Jim would never have a question over his playing career. Think about that for a minute before you throw Jobe under a bus.

So you know categorically that Jobe played no part whatsoever in Hirds resignation?

Only offered his opinion after Jim had handed it to people who asked for it.

Besides, it’s a captains perogative to speak for the playing group.

Firstly how can you possibly know what he said and when?
Secondly no one is disputing he has the right to speak.

Who cares about Jobe’s opinion ? - It’s not relevant in the grand scheme of things, unless you want to push your Hird conspiracy line.

What Hird conspiracy line? You are talking garbage.

Oh yeah, at the press conference after the tribunals finding of not guilty you could tell Watson was extremely angry with (probably) all senior people at the club, including Hird. May explain his form struggles (not withstanding injury) throughout the season

Nothing that we didn't really know about BJ in that. Pretty much how he was at St Kilda as well. Bit of a beat up.

The Goddard Finger points; and, having pointed,
BJ moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel it
Nor all thy words wash out the image of it

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Bombers and Saints, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same door as in I went.