Alfie Jarnestrom’s lesson in complacency:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
12 months ago, Frankston’s Alfie Jarnestrom concedes he didn’t fully adhere to that adage.
11 months ago, after being dropped from Frankston’s lineup, the second-year Business, Banking and Finance student was learning that concept the hard way.
Now, Jarnestrom wants to pass on his learnings to younger players.
“My personal goal was to establish myself as more of a leader this year,” Jarnestrom said.
“I’ve been at Frankston for two years and I want to help the younger boys by sharing the experience I’ve been through.”
“I’d say to them that you’ve got to be confident in what you’re doing and be prepared that you might fail but learn from it.
“When you first get picked you might worry too much about trying to stay in the team and when you have that kind of mindset, it works against you so try to play for the team.”
But as the 21-year-old learnt, that mantra’s good until you get too comfortable.
After playing 25 straight games for Frankston since graduating from the Sandringham Dragons at the end of 2017, complacency crept into the ex Brighton Grammar student’s game which saw him back playing with Old Brighton two months into the season, to gain confidence and improve off-ball pressure.
“I slacked off a little bit when there were extras I could have been doing,” Jarnestrom quipped.
“Especially gym. I used to be slack but I got in a routine where I got to training an hour early to do a gym session.
“When I was doing skills in the past I was just doing kick to kick, and not really thinking about it too much, but now I’m actually going out there and thinking about what I want to work on and putting on some pressure.
“At the time it hurt me… but in hindsight it was a really good thing- it was a reality check. It made me realise I needed to keep working on my game so I ended up playing some of my best football towards the back end of the season and I was really enjoying football again so I should say thankyou in hindsight.”
And his coach backs him up. After a stint with his school mates, which included a one point win over Old Melburnians, he returned to Frankston with visibly improved pressure and an increased appetite for the contest.
“Alfie was coasting early in terms of the amount of contests he got to and his work rate,” Frankston senior coach Danny Ryan said.
“He wanted to go inside [the contest] and we wanted to put him inside at times to add that string to his bow… but we weren’t confident enough at that stage in his bodywork and his one on one which he worked on with Chris McKay.
“When he was reminded of that he lifted his work rate,” Ryan said.
“He came back with a desire to crack in and compete which he’s always had.”
“But for him to get his hands dirty meant his tackle counts went up and his contests and scrimmage work went up.
“Ball in hand he’s numbers weren’t much better than when he went out but his involvement in the game was strikingly improved.”
With the season on hold Jarnestrom, is unable to use that foundation he solidified in the last month of of last season to launch into 2020 but believes he is still able to achieve his personal goal.
A leader whose qualities stem from his football IQ according to Ryan, Jarnestrom is ensuring he keeps in touch and puts a smile on teammates’ faces: “whether it’s sending a meme or giving a phone call to check in, it’s simple and might make their day,” he quipped.
The perfect vehicle in a bad situation for Jarnestrom to showcase his increased maturity and leadership.
–By Jonty Ralphsmith