Beau_vernonAfter his heady performance on stage at the AFL’s season launch last Wednesday, Leongatha’s coach Beau Vernon was happy to be back with his own players at a practice match at Officer. With him is the Parrots’ assistant coach, Tristan Francis.

LEONGATHA’S new coach, Beau Vernon, was the star turn at the AFL’s big season launch at the Docklands last Wednesday night, delivering an inspiring address about ‘the right attitude’ that provided a welcome dose of perspective where such a commodity is often lacking.
It should be compulsory viewing for all sportsmen and women, not to mention the rest of us.
With all of the legends of the game, past and present looking on, Vernon had a hard act to follow as he pushed his wheelchair up on to the dais after the presentation of 12 new AFL life memberships to players who have reached the 300-game milestone and to officials after long years of service.
Indeed, Port Adelaide legend, Kane Cornes, made an eloquent speech in response before Beau took the stage.
But it was our own champ who turned out to be the hard act to follow on the night, even managing to push thoughts about Essendon’s supplements saga into the background with a healthy serving of perspective.
It left wise old heads, like that of Kevin Sheedy, nodding and couldn’t have helped but leave an indelible impression on the assembled players who have since gone on social media with strong words of support.
Beau spoke about his incredible journey over the past two and half years, which locals are all too familiar with, from the depths of despair to personal triumph highlighted by the marriage to his sweetheart Lucy, getting his licence again, going back to work and study and in recent times, being appointed coach of the Leongatha Football Netball Club.
As he told the assembled dignitaries, “I simply couldn’t walk away from football, literally.”
“Everyone will have their ups and downs in their life, some things you will not be able to control. But something you always have control over is your attitude,” he said
“Your attitude to your family, friends and team mates, the attitude to always find the positives in a situation, the attitude to achieving your goals and most of all, your attitude to what you want to be in life.”
It was powerful stuff and an indication, that Leongatha has the right man for the job as they rebuild their fortunes in the Gippsland League.
More importantly though, Beau has his life back on track, with a willingness to attack the challenges as they present themselves, in the same way as he attacked the hard ball.
Last Saturday, he continued the form on the field at Officer, with his side playing ROC in a practice match.
He spoke clearly and concisely at the breaks in the match, delivering messages with strong takeaways for the players, and was obviously well prepared for match day with several scenarios he wanted to trial.
It won’t all be about success on the field for the Parrots this year… don’t you believe it!