It seems unthinkable now that there were some fans, pundits and outside onlookers criticising the decision to hire Gavin Hunt as Wits manager.
Those dissenting voices have been in serious decline over the past few months.
Hunt deserves tremendous credit. It’s his own innate mix of abilities which have ensured Wits constant, visible progression, moving from an inconsistent unit to the current iteration: a mentally strong, defensive and attack-minded team.
A constant message from Hunt from day one has been that the team will continue to improve, evolve and become more confident in the work they do.
Changes were still needed. Changes were made, too, swiftly and without recourse to reputation or personnel reaction. Those left out or who switched positions needed to get on board. This is the way Wits are playing – either be a part of it or don’t.
Hunt has always preached the need to play at a high tempo, to press the opposition and to make life as difficult as possible for them.
He can take credit in particular for one part of the team: the improvement of those who were there before him. He inherited a team that had potential that showed flashes of impressive form, but one that lacked real structure to make the most of its talents.
Daine Klate has hit greater heights than ever before. Natural improvement, or the effects of a man-manager squeezing the best out of an immense talent?
Likely a little of both- but it’s also the boss who structures the team to suit Klate’s style and lets him play within the framework with enough freedom to showcase that unnerving quality, game after game.
Systems and set-ups have changed with a regularity which could be called panicky and haphazard, were it not done with a critical, calculated and ever-improving eye for detail yielding positive results week after week.