“From today, there is no more, 'we might', there is only ‘we can’ and ‘we will’.”
That was Rhyce Shaw’s passionate message to North Melbourne players and it's one that will still be ringing in their ears.
“As we look forward to pre-season, I want you to come prepared to give something greater than yourselves,” Shaw added at the Syd Barker dinner on Friday night.
“… to lose yourself to something bigger, to build that energy, to embody this culture and standards … to do something you’ve never done before, and be more than we’ve ever been."
While Shaw’s main focus is on the future, he also drew inspiration from an encouraging first year at Arden St.
“I’ve spoken a lot about stories,” he explained.
“One of the things I’ve enjoyed most during my time at the club has been the opportunity to get to know the stories of our playing group; to understand who they really are, what makes them tick, how they operate and where they’ve come from.
“Through this process, what has become abundantly clear to me, is that beyond the incredible talent of these football players, the North Melbourne Football Club is home to an amazing group of men.
“Each one is different and unique in his own way, full of great character and hungry to succeed.
“We saw glimpses of that hunger throughout 2019.”
After three wins from the first ten games, Shaw led North to seven victories in the final twelve.
“We speak about chapters at our footy club, and chapter four was against Collingwood at Marvel Stadium,” he said.
“Chapter nine was against Hawthorn where they kicked four goals to nothing in the first six or seven minutes of the game. Chapter 11 was Port Adelaide, after a disappointing week the game before where we only kicked one goal. And how could I forget chapter 1 against Richmond.
“I couldn’t help but make note that probably the most important chapter was the last chapter; chapter 23 (Melbourne). We played not great [sic]. We weren’t going at full bore, but we found a way, and I think that says a lot about this group.
“To each of the players, I’m so proud of what we were able to achieve in the second half of this year.
“The players in this room tonight are exactly the type of people we want to take us into the new era, to help write the next chapter of our Shinboner story.”
Shaw said only a one-in-all-in approach was acceptable for team success.
“It will take more than who we are as individuals to write a story for the ages,” he added.
“For me, the key to our next chapter is our connection. The connection to our history and embracing who we are and who we’ve been. Our connection to the club and all those who put in the time to allow us to do what we do. Our connection to our fans and our members, who support us through the good times and the challenging times.
“But most of all, it’s about our ability to connect with each other.
“I recently read a great quote; ‘The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have’. This is exactly what we need … the energy to push ourselves to a place we haven’t reached before, and draw on this energy to drive our standard, and use it to reward great effort. We will rely on it as we hold ourselves accountable, so at the end of the day we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘we had a crack today’, ‘we pounded the rock’.
“Our culture isn’t about who we are, it’s about what we do. It’s how we show up for this club and each other … how we respond when we’re under pressure.
“From today, there is no more, 'we might’, there is only ‘we can’ and ‘we will’.”