GRAND final-bound coach Phil Carse could sense something special was brewing at Camperdown 12 months ago.
The playing mentor had come to the end of his initial three-year contract.
The Magpies had finished sixth – three games outside the Hampden league top-five – and lost key forward Jordan Bain and key defender Daniel Seehusen in the off-season.
But Carse’s belief was strong. He re-signed for a fourth season and is now preparing to lead Camperdown in its first grand final since 2006 as it aims to end an 18-year flag drought.
Carse said internally the Magpies were confident their 2018 campaign would be one to remember.
He believed three years’ worth of investment into young players such as Riley Arnold, Charlie Lucas, Lachlan Bone and Luke O’Neil would reap rewards.
“I know injuries are never an excuse but we did have a lot of injuries at the start of last year and we ended up winning four of our last five games,” Carse said.
“I think we started to see those dividends with those younger players starting to take effect. That’s why coming to the end of that three-year period I wouldn’t have been satisfied if I left it where it was because I knew we had so much more in us. That’s why I signed on again and I guess that’s been justified.”
Carse said belief was integral to their success.
“What we pride ourselves on is backing each other in and when our backs are against the wall finding another level,” he said.