Possibley for those unable to attend questions could be put on here to ask.
OK, I'll try and keep them as positive as possible, but there are one or two that need asking as well as those...(bet you can spot them):
- what attracted you to come back to Moseley? - what's better about the club now than when you were last here? - have you already been able to see where you can make a difference? and where? - it's not going terribly well for Mose at the minute, where do we go from here? - how are you finding it so far? - accepting the resources and budgets are very different, do you think there are things we can learn from how Quins work on and off the pitch in terms of player development
I will not be able to attend either because Pam and I will be in Scotland but if you pass on my kind regards to Ossie and ask him that if I remember correctly wasn't his regular centre partner a certain Malcolm Swain. He may have even partnered Barry Corlis as well.
However, I too have a couple of questions.
1. What does Ossie feeel he can do to plug the leaking midfield defence?
2. And whilst Moseley are more than capable of making a break all too often the support is not quick enough.
3. I can understand slowing the ball down at a scrum - to try and force a penalty - but why is it so slow at back of a ruck.
4. I could see the better attacking lines in the Sale match - particularly by James Williams - so, without becoming predictable, can we see more of them.
5. Moseley often create an overlap but fail to see it or use it. Sometimes it is because the winger is pushed towards the touch line. How does Ossie plan to set about coaching centres and wingers to 'come inside' as an automatic option.
6. And a three-quarter usually kicks off but it is all too often too deep. It is either intentionally deep but Moseley players are too slow or too cautious of being out of position to chase up the kick off, or it is intended to allow the opposition to 'run back' from deep. That is fine but if the opposition are good at running the ball back and the defence stand off and / or fail to put in the first tackle problems can and do arise - particularly when you have a porous defence.
Ossie spoke at length to the assembled crowd (I estimate about 35 at the peak?). I was unaware of the thread/questions on here but I will give a small recap, others may be able to add more, and more detail.
At John's request Ossie spoke about his past, from starting to play at George Dixon Grammar through his days at Old Dixonians, Moseley (77-83), in Zimbabwe and for Harlequins in a variety of roles.
After that, the floor was opened to questions, with the qualification that he can only really comment about the past three weeks when he has been at the club. Ossie seems not to be someone who is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear just to placate you, and there was some forthright discussion. For instance, when asked about targets for the next six games (until the turn of the year), he said he would not set targets, even if others might, as he doesn't know how long it will take for his changes to start to affect the play on the pitch.
He spoke about discussions with the players and about creating a "culture" or "club values" (despite professing to hate the term "values"). These were themed around two acrostics: BRUM (Brave, Resilient, Uncompromising and Motivated) and MOSELEY (M, Organisation, Selflessness, Enthusiasm, L, E, You - apologies for not remembering all the phrases associated) He said the club's tagline is "Birmingham's Premier Rugby Club" and challenged the players to prove that.
Discussions regarding play style and tactics were had, with Ossie feeling that some things needed to be worked on right away, including defence (including keeping width) and intensity just before and just after kickoff and half-time (You may hear coaches yelling "Kill Zone!" at players at these times as a reminder from now on). Other things, including work on kick-offs both offensively and defensively, are being worked on in training but won't be used in games until the players actually know what to do in terms of planning.
He believes that games have been close and the additional intensity, awareness and planning will turn those into wins. Specifically talked about here was the kick from Williams that did not make touch at Loughborough that led to their try, where players needed to do their job in running after the kick - it is only effort, not skill or talent needed there, and if that effort isn't there, then you shouldn't be at Moseley. He said he would back Williams to try that kick again.
A leadership group of players has been identified: Buster Lawrence, CJ Osazuwa, Chris Brightwell and Rob Lewis.
After the formal Q and A Ossie stood and spoke to a number of supporters about a number of topics around the club, and said that he would be in the clubhouse after Saturday's game. He is happy to listen to what the supporters have to say, but I think he won't hesitate to give his opinion back.
I spoke to him around looking at the wider club in terms of players for the squad, and he agreed with the maxim "If you're good enough, you're old enough" and we discussed that coaches from Oak and the Development Squad should be able to point out any prospects (if there are any apart from the ones we've already brought up). I thanked him for coming down and talking to us, with tonight not being a training night. He said that perhaps another meeting might be held with people watching training and then discussing with him their questions based on what they see in the session.
On the whole, what he said made a lot of sense. He seems confident that the changes he is making and will make will improve the team and brings wins. I'm not sure he 100% knows what he's in for and will be using Richard Protherough's knowledge of the league and the other teams in it until he gets to know them (although he has some knowledge of Esher and Rosslyn Park through their DoRs that he worked with on DR players whilst at Quins Academy). At some time in the future, we should see his changes affecting the team and play, and if he can get the 20 guys in the shirts to play to the level they should be able to and we move out of harm's way, he will have been successful in my book.