The Anguish of Coaching

REDCLIFFE Dolphins coach Anthony Griffin thought he knew all about the anguish of coaching after his first Queensland Cup match in charge. He had watched his new charges go down to a 60-point drubbing at the hands of Norths, his former employer. But, according to Griffin, that was nothing compared with the tidal wave of emotions during the club's final two matches of the season. After eliminating the Toowoomba Clydesdales 23-22 in week one of the semi-finals at Dolphin Oval, Griffin's men ran up against Norths in an elimination minor semi-final at Bishop Park. The Devils had been favourites to take out the titles only a few weeks before, but the Dolphins dispelled any notions of that with a 33-10 thumping. Then it was down to ominous task of fronting up to premiers Burleigh Heads at Pizzey Park in the preliminary final. That Redcliffe got within a try of the premiers speaks volumes for the quality of the Redcliffe squad. "I was shattered for my players," Griffin said. "As bad as it was for all the coaching and club staff, it was one hundred times worse for the players. "I know how much it took out of them physically and the number of them that were playing with injuries. "To be 18-6 behind to Burleigh at their home ground and come back and lead with three minutes was a great effort. I've never experienced anything like that finish before. "At the start of the season I had no preconceived idea of what we wanted to achieve. All we were concentrating on was the work that was needed to help improve the place. "But after the black opening day when he lost both the Colts and State League by 60 points, everyone responded and learned from their mistakes." He said the Bears were still the benchmark of the Queensland Cup, and if his side had got through against them, he was confident they could go on and claim another Cup victory. But the Dolphins are not resting on their laurels of third after missing out on the semi-finals last season. The club is confident Griffin will re-sign for next season, along with virtually all of this season's squad. Missing will be Penrith-bound pair Liam Georgetown and Wayne Bond. "It's a pity that we won't get to see those pair play for Redcliffe again as they have their best footy in front of them," he said. Also back will be veteran forward Troy Lindsay, who during the finals again led by example. "Troy tore his calf muscle at training on the Wednesday before the Burleigh match and needed pain killers in his calf to play," Griffin said. "The physios said most players would have needed 10 days off, but that is the sort of player he is." Griffin praised the standard of the Queensland Cup, saying the presence of the three NRL offshoots (Toowoomba, Norths and Young Guns) in the semis was a testament of how seriously they took the format and the improved depth of their squads. "A number of their players are fulltime and so you have to be continually trying to improve to stay with the standard," he said. "The good thing for us was that we learned from the tough patches during the year and everyone improved. "I thought after our loss at home to Burleigh that we hit our straps and our form going into the finals was really good."