A fair few people have had their doubts about Des over the last year or two. And not without reason. Yesterday gave me the final confirmation though that Des is on the right track. If any one of us was to be the coach and start de novo with a new team how would you go about progressively building a solid competitive team and then build to a premiership winning team ? The building blocks would have to start with defence and I think most would agree that Des has a tick in the box for that. Compare with previous seasons. We are much tougher in defence especially including our on line defence. Des is starting to get out attack plans into a more cohesive pattern but still a fair level of improvement to come. Not bad timing if we are starting to build into peak form over the next 6 weeks. The question marks raised here is Des's supposed "risk aversion" and his failure to drop underperformers. Maybe the jury is still out on those two issues, but you have to admit that for the most part Des has had this teams head screwed on to such an extent that they have turned up in the 20 rounds this year when many others in the comp have failed at various times throughout the season. Des has instilled the right mental approach in this team this year. A question mark remains on his strategic ability. I dont know if he can be a brilliant strategist, but i do know he is learning & might surprise a few once he had the experience of another entry into the finals. Is he a premiership winning coach ? Does he have the vision ? At the moment its hard to judge. he doesnt walk & talk like a premiership winning coach. Thats probably because he hasnt won one yet ! I dont doubt he can do it with the right cattle. Not forgetting, for whatever reason, we have a few "pedestrians" in the team which will hopefully be weeded out in 07. But for those who say he cant take us to a premiership I would suggest that they may lack vision themselves rather than the coach. Its undeniable that Manly has improved its grit & determination in leaps and bounds compared to last year and the years before that. Des has a tick in the box for that & also he has a tick for an undeniable improvement in defence. We are mentally in the right place and our attack sems to be improving when it counts. So far so good. Des has a tick in the right places from me. Does he get it from some of you others ?