AFL England

Talking IC with GB Bulldogs Head Coach Dean Thomas


After catching up with Swans Captain, Laura Turner, it’s now the turn of GB Head Coach, Dean Thomas, to give his thoughts after this weeks testing weekend at the University of Sheffield. Team Manager, Jason Hill, caught up with Dean to get his thoughts about the upcoming AFL International Cup. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What impressed you most about the Bulldogs at testing day?

The most pleasing aspect was the camaraderie between the players, including some of the new faces that we have introduced. There was and is a genuine bond between the existing players, they enjoy each other’s company, and were welcoming, as we would expect, to the new players brought in to the squad. Aside from that I was very pleased with some of the results so early in the year. The group has a focus on improvement and creating their own GB legacy. The early results indicate these boys are serious about achieving their goals.

2. For you what is the key to bringing success to the Bulldogs at IC17?

Success, however you measure it, can only be achieved through a group effort, on and off the field. The players need to share a common objective and be prepared to tick every box along the way in order to reach that objective and the coaching group needs to deliver a clear and consistent message that enables them to do that. Success will be brought about by preparation and attention to detail in the months leading up to the IC, and a mindset that allows each individual and the team collectively to reach their full potential. The support staff are perhaps the overlooked factor. We see our support team as an extra body on the field. If we achieve what we measure as success, they will be a part of it.

3. What are your goals for IC17?

We are an international representative team, we go into every game wanting to win and aiming to win every game. My goals for the IC are not what matter, it is the playing groups goals that ultimately count. It is their legacy.

4.What are you looking forward to the most?

Seeing the players pit themselves against quality opponents in what for many, will be the biggest competition of their footy careers to date. Bringing our Australian based players into the fold with the UK based players for the first time during my tenancy, is perhaps the most exciting prospect. There can be a risk of creating two distinct groups based on geography, but these boys have all been engaging in the process to date. They are one. I believe the Bulldogs will surprise a lot of onlookers

5. Where do you believe the Bulldogs rank right now in World Footy?

I don’t buy into rankings. They are a reflection of past performances, not what lays ahead. I am happy for other nations to have their views on where we sit in comparison to them.

6. After watching the Bulldogs at the testing weekend what is the one thing you want to see improved to bring success in August?  

We will need to improve across the board, not just in one category. The players individually and collectively know this. There is enormous upside in this group. They just need to prepare and believe.

7. What do you want to see from the Bulldogs over the next 6 months?

To continue to enjoy their footy, grow as a group and create the self belief necessary to achieve their objectives. Take one step at a time and saviour the experience of the challenge they are embarking on. The memories they have already created together will last for a long time. If the group is one with a shared objective, they can create many more.

We look forward to hearing more from Dean, the Swans and the Bulldogs in the build up to IC17

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