HE’S been called the football equivalent of a horse whisperer. One former colleague swears he has ‘Zen Master’ qualities; another insists that if the human body was an engine, he would be the mechanic fine-tuning it.
His name is Steve Saunders, and if you haven’t heard of him, don’t feel left out.
Few footy fans know who Saunders is, other than hard-core North Melbourne supporters contentedly watching their team streak to a 6-0 start to the 2016 season off the back of a healthy playing list, the best injury-prevention program in the AFL and a core of veterans playing some of the best football of their careers.
But the AFL industry — indeed the sports industry as a whole — knows a lot about Saunders.
For more than two decades, he was one of the leading go-to men for groin injuries — he was once dubbed ‘the groin guru’ — and he is now into his sixth season as North Melbourne’s high-performance coach and managing director of sports science and medical services.