James Everard - My Redan Story
Where did you grow up and did you play footy or any other sports as a child?
I grew up in Wallace which was the home of the Springbank footy club so played there with no ability until one day a coach mentioned I was a good trainer so I took him literally. We were fortunate to have the local tennis court next to our house so I also played a lot of tennis both as a kid and into my older years.
What were some of the highlights of your football career?
Anyone who played with me or against me would understand my highlight reel is fairly limited. I did manage to kick six in half at Hepburn one day until they put some bloke on me who wanted to belt me for the rest of the day.
The real highlights would be the premierships I have been involved in as both a trainer and administrator, nothing beats team success. In some sense the flag is a relief for the effort put in by all those both on and off field. The 2011 year at Redan for the club success overall and Springbank’s 1990 and 2000-2001 flags meant a lot personally at the time.
Who or what was is that convinced you to come to Redan and what were your initial impressions of the club?
I came to Redan as my son Jono came across from Mount Clear in 2010 to play under 18.5 following a number of kids who had all played together. I also recall Kieran Murrihy attending the Mount Clear presentation night in 2009 and his talk really painted Redan as having a strong culture and it did resonate as a destination club.
Tell us about the involvement of your children with the club and some of their highlights.
Jono sadly is one of these players who since under 18’s was only able to play one full year of open age footy which resulted in a flag in 2013. He was also a member of the unders flags in 2010&11. Never playing in one myself it was enjoyable to share that with one of your kids. My daughters Claire and Sarah also played one year of netball in 2016.
What do you know of legendary trainer Val Stewart?
I knew of Val as I worked with John (Skin) Geary during his time here, but never met the bloke.
In Fred Carpenter’s interview he mentioned Val was a big believer in treating injuries with heat and in more recent times, Brendan O’Brien in his interview commented that cold therapy is probably just a placebo. Do you feel ice baths are here to stay or are a number of recent University studies questioning their worth likely to change our thinking on recovery methods?
One thing about science is that it will always lead to change in methods. At our level I think we need to look and learn from the experts at AFL level and ice baths or heading to the beach are still methods employed. We now know the application of heat too soon can prolong recovery (hey Roosta) . As a trainer I tend to look at the way players in the AFL are taped and also seek feedback from a player when they have seen a physio.
Who are some of the players that would have gone through the most tape during your time at the club?
One of my responsibilities is to ensure taping only occurs when necessary so often I will seek to understand what we are taping for. Sometimes there is no reason particularly with kids who mirror something they see on telly.
It can be a costly program however we do need to understand taping is a necessary cost in preventing injuries and reducing player down time.
What are some of the highlights of your time with Redan?
Friendships created with playing groups both footy and netball, but importantly those made with the people who are “Redan” off the field. The resurfaced oval and of course club success.
Who would be the best five players you’ve seen during your time with the maroon and gold?
Very tough question this one. The players I mention are in no order but could always be relied upon.
Nathan Horbury, an amazing accumulator of possessions who gets value out of nearly every kick. Was often made to earn every possession but kept on getting up for the next contest.
Jezz Edwards who I possibly did not see at his prime but was always able to commit his body in and under to win possession. Would have hated to wash his gear given the grounds before they were done up.
Brendan Peace was a player I admired for his ability to lift people under him willing himself to effect a lunging tackle or smother, very good at creating the Redan model for people to follow.
Sam Giblett for his attack on the footy, willing to kill a contest and lift those around him with defensive acts.
Pat Britt highly underrated player outside Redan but rarely beaten with subtle body position and strength. Keeps it simple see ball punch ball unless in a marking position.
Describe the challenge you face each year to have enough trainers to look after all of our sides.
Finding trainers is a real issue across all levels given the amount of football and netball now played. Numbers at the Uni have shrunk making the pool smaller to pick from and then maybe only get one year per placement.
I have real concerns about where the next long term club trainers come from and wonder if there needs to be a real rethink of the way this is approached. We do need to get more parental involvement particularly at junior level to cover all the grades.
What about the trainer’s rooms at the City Oval, ideally what size should they be?
Certainly the trainers area needs to be a couple of metres bigger to allow for people to move throughout the room without bumping into each other. I would also like to see hot and cold water available along with better storage for equipment.
What is the most rewarding part of the job?
Seeing people getting the best out of themselves on and off the field to become good citizens. I think sustained success as a sports person will generally translate to being successful in life given the commitment and hard work required to get there.
The other thing I find rewarding is the respect from the playing group both football and netball who value the commitment that comes with being a trainer.
Who are some of the players who had a habit of getting up for games you felt they had no chance of playing in?
Grant Bell has very good recovery powers.
In general how good are players at listening to the advice of trainers?
Most a very good at recognising the signs within their own body that something is amiss. I am a massive believer that the process we set when deciding who is fit to play at the start of the year is the same model we adopt right through the year, finals included.
Players do need to be honest in reporting issues and would look to back them in if subject to a discussion about timing of a return based on 30 years of wearing a bumbag. We will overrule a player where necessary as the last thing we all want is someone’s career and life ruined because we were not smart or strong enough to make a tough call.
With a new oval and better playing surface, was there any noticeable difference in the volume and types of injuries last season?
Prior to the city oval being done up I certainly felt Redan were disadvantaged going from the soft/wet city oval to what we have today. In general the better surface is easier on the legs so less lower leg injuries should be a result provided the player does the work at training.
How much reporting is done at the end of season in terms of injury patterns and is this information then used in conjunction with coaching and fitness staff to plan the next pre-season?
We have an online profile tool Caremonkey that all players footy and netball should have updated to profile previous injuries, emergency contact details, allergies. Sadly some players do not get the importance of this in knowing injury history or treatment risks.
In terms of planning we are probably not mature enough in the sports science area nor do we sit down and review the collected data year to year.
What is your view on the concussion rule and is the AFL slowly starting to move in the right direction?
All sport is moving in the right direction in understanding the risk associated with injured players. The reality is a trainer role is to provide first aid, work to the level of your knowledge and refer for professional assessment.
The reality is you are not diagnosing concussion even at expert level, that is a symptom of a brain injury. I am very happy to say that at Redan a trainers decision is final, if in doubt sit them out.
I note that the experts still believe a helmet if worn will not reduce the incidence or seriousness of concussion today.
What advice do you have for someone looking to become a trainer or volunteer with a football club in general?
One of the greatest gifts we can give is our time, we are simply custodians of the history, tradition and culture during our time in any organisation.
So get out of the car, off the couch and ask ‘What can I do to help?’ There are plenty of roles, team manager, timekeepers and helping in the canteen waiting for someone to put their hand up. Don’t wait to be asked, seek an opportunity as you will be the winner in the long run.