THE PLAYERS at every AFL club come from a vast range of backgrounds. It really is a great mix. Some of them, of course, come from far-flung places like Ireland and Canada.
So you've got a lot of things to consider when it comes to managing them. But that's going to happen in just about any environment where you've got 44 young men coming together.
But can you have a 'teacher's pet'?
To begin to answer that question, I'll start with some of my experiences as a player and as an assistant coach.
Blighty had some big challenges when it came to handling the players because he had a list with all sorts of characters on it.
But Blighty had his own way of dealing with those things. He had a great way of making people feel like they belonged, and that wasn't just for me it was for every player, I reckon.
I worked as an assistant coach under Blighty at St Kilda, but he didn't get much time there to develop favourites, as we were all given the boot less than a year into our jobs.
It was back at Geelong, working under Mark Thompson, where my coaching journey really took off.
Prior to getting the job as senior coach at Port Adelaide, I worked under Guy McKenna up on the Gold Coast.
I think that in footy these days people think particular players are the 'teacher's pet', but in reality these assumptions are not particularly accurate.
But it's more because we manage them physically more than ever, and we're aware of all their strengths and what they're capable of.
At times this can lead to comments like, "Oh, he's one of the coach's favourites, so he doesn't have to train." But that simply isn't right.
Since I started at Port Adelaide, I've certainly developed a soft spot for our youngest players, but that's because you spend a lot of time with them early on.
But for me it's a great time because I'm finding out a lot about all the players. I've got a new captain in Travis Boak, a new vice-captain in Brad Ebert and I've got this big full-forward in Schulzy (Jay Schulz) that I like. So I like them all.
So, to answer the question posed back at the start, coaches will always feel closer to some players than others. But this is not a problem. As long as everyone's in it together when it comes to match day, then things will always be fine.