Photo: Paul Jeffers - The Age.
With David and John Noble set to clash for the first time as senior coach and player in the AFL, father and son have taken a moment in the build-up to the game to reflect on their journeys to the elite level.
With his role at North Melbourne his first as senior coach, David Noble’s AFL journey since playing two senior games for Fitzroy in 1991 has taken him to all corners of the country.
Son John says his father’s commitment to both his personal and professional lives is nothing short of inspiring.
“It is more of a proud moment from my perspective with how far Dad has come in his career and how long he has been in the system to finally be in the position he has dreamt of for a while,” John told The Age.
“His commitment and loyalty to our family and what it has gone through has been the biggest thing.
“He is a person I look up to as a role model and I would love to be as half as good as him as a family member, let alone a professional, and with his work ethic. It is something I have never taken for granted.
“He is my role model for what I want to build my life on and the family connection he builds with us is something I want with my partner and my children in the future.”
While family members clashing within the AFL arena is nothing new, Saturday’s game will be just the tenth time in history a father has coached against his son.
History is on the side of the son in these games, as the nine previous clashes have resulted in one draw and nine losses from a coaching perspective, but David will be hoping to turn that around.
David says while it’s a somewhat strange experience to be coming up against his son at such a high level of the game, he needs to prepare to face John just as he would any other player.
“Realistically you have got to push that emotion aside and assess him on the way he is playing, and the rest of the group; it is not just about him. We certainly have to discuss it,” he said.
“We had a unique experience last year [when David was Brisbane’s head of football and the Lions played the Pies] and this is different altogether.
“We have got to plot a little closer around John’s involvement in the Pies team. That’s a little bit strange."