A Decade On: Peter German
- Monday, 14 July 2014
“They were almost like my sons… I don’t think I’ve had that ever since”
It’s been 12 years since Peter German first walked through the doors of the Subiaco Football club.
German made 9 appearances in 2002 as Peel Thunder’s playering coach before being lured to Leederville to take over from Kevin Sparks as senior coach of Subiaco.
It took two seasons for German and his Lions to claim the WAFL premiership, beating Claremont by 48 points in front of 22 thousand fans at Subiaco Oval.
Ten years on and Subiacofc.com caught up with one of the driving forces behind Subiaco’s reign of dominance.
What are your memories leading up to the Grand Final?
We’ll we’d lost the year before and the club had been spending up big in previous years getting some big names.
There had been some hard times, we’d just missed out on a few grand finals losing some prelims and a lot of the players like Richard Maloney and guys like that who’d worked hard for a good four, five, six years , they got their reward so it was just relief more than anything.
Was there a moment in the game when you realized your boys were ‘on’ ?
Probably Chad Cossom’s goal in the first five minutes.
He was coming in on the boundary on the left side, just being able to compose himself that early in the game, normally you’d just blaze because you’re just happy to get a kick early in the game but he was able to settle under a bit of pressure and just slotted it from the boundary.
Did you feel like you could out coach Claremont that day?
Well we’d played them in the last three games that year, we’d beaten them the previous two so we knew them pretty well.
We knew what their strengths were: Anthony Jones at centre half forward and they had some smart, smaller players who if you gave them time and space with the ball they’d hurt you.
Sam Larkins was our secret weapon…
We really hadn’t unleashed him as a full time forward until the grand final so we put him next to Brad Smith. So a fair bit of attention went to Brad and that really released Sam who was responsible for probably three or four of our first goals.
(Smith kicked 5 goals, Larkins kicked 4 while Claremont kicked 7 goals in total.)
What did you bring to that playing group?
Well up until that stage I’d been coaching for 8 or 9 years and I felt that I was really hungry to get to a club that wanted success because I wanted success as well.
All the boys who came underneath me, I pushed them as hard as I could push anyone and by the end they were almost like my sons and I don’t think I’ve had that ever since.
I’ve been at all these other clubs but that close bond that I had with that playing group, we were just so close because we all understood what it was going to take and we were that driven and knew how committed we had to be.
In the end we understood that nothing was going to stand in our way and we were pretty ruthless and in many ways I led from the front in that regard the players who ended up having that real hunger for it were the guys who were able to stay on and ultimately got those four flags.
It was a really good blend of good young kids who were really eager and had a really good base of strength work from Matt Barber and it really all just came together.
Their closeness and the bond that they had together and the demands that they put on each other… in the end they could have coached themselves I reckon.
German was recruited to Fremantle as an assistant coach following his second WAFL premiership in 2006.
After two seasons with the Dockers he headed back to Victoria and to coach the Casey Scorpions in 2009.
German then spent four seasons in charge at Williamstown doubling as a development coach for the Western Bulldogs.
2014 is his first year coaching the Coburg Football Club.
German will be attending the ten year re-union to be held at the Lions club rooms at Medibank Stadium following the round 23 match against East Fremantle on August 31st.
“I’m looking forward to getting over and catching up with the boys I haven’t seen them since Brad Smith’s wedding a couple of years ago in Bali… we went through a lot of hard times and some good times so there’s nothing better than being able to share it and have a chat about it, it’s going to be good.” German said.
The club invites all fans and members to attend the function.