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WHILE his now Yallourn Yallourn North teammates were feeling the sting of two wooden spoons, Adam Bailey was drinking from the cup two years running at Morwell.
The first-year Bombers coach has a shot at a personal premiership triple this weekend against Yinnar and it’d be hard to back against the man with the Midas touch.
The 2014 Trood Award and Rodda Medallist has spun gold at YYN, but there’s been no silver bullet or magic trick to the transformation, just plain old hard work.
When the former Tiger took the reins at YYN he adopted a side with something to prove.
Twin finishes at the bottom of the ladder did not sit well with the club’s list and redemption was the first item on the agenda for the hungry roster.
“I just think the group’s really bought into wanting to be successful and earn some respect from the opposition,” Bailey said.
“Having 60 plus players on the list and having 40 each night to training really makes it a group that wants to perform at a better level.”
While Bailey’s recruitment was savvy, he believes the recipe for success was already there.
All it took was a wooden spoon to stir them up.
“I know the talent was already there, (but) it’s all about trying to get the best out of yourself,” he said.
“The players that were there they were in some games… but they weren’t getting the best out of themselves, so I think the professionalism was probably lacking a bit in training, preparation and also numbers.
“There wasn’t internal pressure for spots or anything, whereas now because you have so many players… it creates that internal pressure to actually perform and earn a spot.
“That’s something I really wanted to focus on early and it’s really paid off for the group.”
After dropping the first game of the season YYN went on a rampage.
The side did not lose again throughout the home and away fixture to finish minor premier.
It now has a chance to make history as the first side to bounce back from last place to premier in the space of 12 months.
It was all a pipedream back in April, when the club was optimistically aiming to sneak into the top five.
Bailey certainly did not think a grand final was in the cards.
“No, not really. I think what you want to do is just bring a group together. I wanted to bring a group together that could possibly play in finals, so top five was my ultimate aim with the idea of winning a final, which was something I was really hoping for,” he said.
“They’ve exceeded my expectations at the start of the year, but as a coaching group and playing group we went through and understood those targets needed to be changed because the group was going a lot quicker than what we thought.
“Now for us it was a grand final, this week it’s about winning a grand final, so it’s actually been evolving the whole way through.”
The effect has trickled down to the lower grades as well.
YYN’s reserves bounced back from the bottom of the 2014 table to finish third on the ladder, and reached the preliminary final.
The town has responded in kind, turning out in force to back the Bombers all year long.
“We’re winning games and stuff like that (which helps) but even at the start of the year once we had a fairly large recruiting drive, the support from the town itself was amazing,” Bailey said.
“It doesn’t really come down just to wins or losses, they’re just really behind us and excited we’ve taken a step into the grand final.”
Now its there for the taking, Bailey would love nothing more than to bring the trophy back to Yallourn.
“We’re really fortunate we can do it for them, just be in there, and hopefully we can take the cup home.”