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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Coach Peter O'Dwyer finds the next best thing to winning it himself

Coach Peter O'Dwyer finds the next best thing to winning it himself

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Coach full of praise for Wiltshire’s work ethic

Ballarat Courier
09 Apr, 2012

MATT Wiltshire’s triumph in the Stawell Gift was 12 months in the making.

His coach Peter O’Dwyer said planning had begun immediately after last year’s Stawell Gift Carnival.

Wiltshire won the Bill Howard 100m Handicap, reinforcing in O’Dwyer’s mind that his young charge had what it took to win the big one.

O’Dwyer said at that stage of his career Wiltshire had not done enough work to be a contender. That certainly changed.

The past 12 months has been all about hard work.

Wiltshire committed to a seven-day-a-week training regime, giving up beer and a lot else to find the form he would need to be a major contender for the Gift.

He ran without a break throughout the season, consistently competing under a hard workload which made the journey a tough one.

There was also a six-day training camp at Ocean Grove during the summer to help harden him up.

O’Dwyer said it was all about being right for Stawell...right on the day.

He said Wiltshire would now take a badly needed break. “He needs it.”

O’Dwyer said Wiltshire would step back from full-on running training over the winter and play football with some mates at Carngham-Linton in the Central Highlands league.

O’Dwyer said guiding Wiltshire to the win was the next best thing to claiming the title himself — something which had eluded him in 25 attempts.

The veteran gave it another big shot this year, winning his heat to earn yet another semi-final berth.

While the 45-year-old would have loved to have reached another Stawell Gift final, he always knew that Wiltshire was the "POD Squad’s" main hope.

Trials leading up to the carnival had convinced O’Dwyer that Wiltshire was on target. O’Dwyer believes Wiltshire has what it takes to go on to bigger things — possibly beyond professional ranks.

He said the new Stawell Gift champion was still quite raw, and technically still had substantial improvement in him.

For the time being though, it is time for Wiltshire, O’Dwyer and the team around them to sit back and savour reaching the pinnacle of Australian professional footracing.

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