Michael Voss’ time as Brisbane senior coach has been turbulent, questionable and at times not the dream marriage Lions supporters initially had planned. But in 2013, Michael Voss is coaching for his career and will be out of contract at year’s end.
Like all clubs, supporters fall in love with the idea of one of the club’s most decorated players returning to the helm to coach the club that made them famous. For Michael Voss, this is no different.
Like a long married couple that is drifting apart, Voss is now in danger of an ugly divorce which is about to go public, and soon there will be nowhere to hide.
Tony Shaw famously left Collingwood in worse shape than what he found it, and more recently Brett Ratten was publicly axed with a year to run on his contract for seemingly taking Carlton backwards rather than forwards.
Voss is already a dead man walking to some. Others more optimistic believe that the past few years have been speed humps rather than stop signs and he will continue on as coach beyond 2013.
2013 marks the fifth year that Voss has coached the same club that he led as captain to three consecutive premierships from 2001 to 2003. The pressure cooker is starting to bubble and soon the lid will be blown off if Voss and his men cannot do better than the 10 wins they managed in season 2012.
The pass mark for Voss and Brisbane as a collective must be 11 wins and anything less will be unacceptable.
Questions surrounding Voss’ angle in his first year as coach, bringing in players who some would considered washed up and finished with the firm belief he could squeeze out a premiership with the then current group of players, was the first mistake and put the club behind the eight ball for the seasons following.
Nobody could’ve predicted Brendon Fevola’s antics and for a while that severely affected the club as well as its reputable culture. It ended the ‘crazy Vossy’ era in which he took the club from finals to bottom four after some deplorable trading and recruiting.
Although the pending retirements of club stalwarts Simon Black and Jonathon Brown are on the horizon, there is already a strong sense of vibrancy and something infectious surrounding the up-and-coming new leaders of the once fearsome Lions. This club has a pulse; it does not die when Black and Brown depart.
In more recent times, Voss has blooded some very good talent, and to the recruiting team’s credit, they’ve done what most clubs have failed to do and identify diamonds in the rough late in drafts.
Daniel Rich, Jack Redden, Todd Banfield, Aaron Cornelius, Tom Rockliff, Niall McKeever, Clay Beams, Mitchell Golby and Dayne Zorko are players that have been passed up on by other clubs that will form the future of this club.
There is no doubt that Brisbane will enter this season beefed up and quicker with a deeper pool of key position stocks than in seasons past, thanks again to Voss’ vision and the recruiting team delivering on that vision.
The recruitment of 2011 Melbourne best and fairest winner Brent Moloney was a genius move that will see a rise in Brisbane’s clearance count. His teammate at Melbourne, Stefan Martin, adds substance to the forward and defence where he is able to play both ends well.
The draft also produced some highlights, with speedster Sam Mayes falling into the laps of the Lions. The need for key position players was also addressed, with key forwards Marco Paparone and Jonathon Burke as well as the versatile Michael Close being brought to the club.
The return of Brent Staker and Matthew Leuenberger in 2013 also makes the pair practically new recruits, which will surely help the surge this year.
It must be noted that the Brisbane board backed Voss at the end of his last contract in 2011 and did so when other significant people at the club thought he should go.
The list is no doubt in prime position to have a serious attempt at making finals this year and overall improvement of the list, married with development and other performance indicators, are just a start on Voss’ pledge for a new contract in 2014.
It would be shattering to think that Michael Voss could be remembered as a poor coach rather than a club and AFL champion.