It wasn't so long ago that we were seriously and excitedly contemplating the possibility of the Matildas becoming Australia's first World Cup winning soccer side.
And then, five months out from the competition, FFA, for reasons undisclosed, and in a strangely secretive process, sacked coach Alen Stajcic.
It was a move that reeked of insanity, and the form of the side since has done nothing but reinforce the critical voices: the Matildas have lost friendlies against the Netherlands, America and France, and have now lost their first World Cup round to Italy - who haven't qualified in 20 years.
Coming in for heavy criticism have been the defensive tactics of new coach Ante Milicic, and the talk these days is less about a Cup win and more towards the looming possibility that the Matildas may not graduate from their group.
Quite the reversal.
As I noted last week, Manly, in rugby league world, have had a similar reversal, albeit in the opposite direction, going from near wooden spooners last season to right into contention in this one.
Same common denominator to the change: the coach.
It makes you wonder, what do the coaches actually do?
To be honest, I'm not sure.
In the earlier days of rugby league we had captain coaches.
It is worth noting that both Norm Provan and Arthur Summons - 'The Gladiators' - were captain coaches.
This means that the main strategic forces in the sides were actually on the park, directing things about.
These days that power has shifted to the sideline.
I do wonder whether this is, fundamentally, good for the game.
Is statistic-driven formula-based strategising from off the field unduly hindering the individual spontaneity from which so much of the excitement of the game has traditionally been generated?
I see scrums packed recently where the 'attacking' side is in their own quarter and so a front rower is taken from the scrum and positioned at five-eight.
Really? Who decides this? (I bet it wasn't the five-eight). How dull.
Football used to be about teams of different players with differing types of natural abilities, and the teams would aim to capitalise on each of their individual strengths.
I never had a coach who gave me any type of instruction on actually how to play.
I'm bloody sure there wasn't anybody telling Andrew Johns or Bobby Fulton or Johnathan Thurston what to do. I don't think this is necessarily the case anymore.
I found myself, not all that long ago, in a dressing room watching as the coach gave the side its pre-match running on instructions.
He had a whiteboard. I'd never seen a whiteboard in a dressing room before.
I laugh when I try to imagine Terry Pannowitz giving us our game instructions via whiteboard.
The press coverage in the lead-up to this last State of Origin featured some pretty wacky stories about modern coaching techniques.
There was a 'coach whisperer'; there were team rules on language - words to be avoided - and fines imposed for breaking them; there was a lot of talk about 'mind management' and even some requirements for 'earthing' practices.
For contrast I figured I'd tell you a couple of old-style coaching stories. Coaching used to be predominantly about attaining and maintaining fitness: Balmain coach Leo Nosworthy once, as part of his team's preparation, had them racing up and down the steps of the grandstand at Leichhardt Oval.
Dave Bolton, the great Pommy international five eight, bluntly refused to do it.
When challenged on his reluctance by Nosworthy, Bolton replied, 'I've never scored a try yet runnin' up and down f***n' steps.'
Coaching was about motivation: Arthur Summons, coaching the 1963 Kangaroos on their tour of Great Britain, called a team meeting a week out from the first test and asked the team what they thought their approach should be?
Diamond and Gasnier and the rest said, we've got to take them on in the backs.
We're bigger and faster and that's how we should play them.
Summons said, 'Well, I disagree. All the other sides that have come over here have done exactly that and none of them have won. I think we've got to take them on in the forwards.'
He then turned to the leader of the forwards, who was Noel Kelly, and, well, what Summons said is not really appropriate for direct quote in a family newspaper.
Let's just say that he suggested to Kelly that he and his fellow forwards may have been just a little bit self-delusional as far as their toughness and overall masculinity were concerned, and that perhaps they weren't really up to the task of matching the Pommy pack.
Summons later described it as 'like waving a red flag at a bull.'
From the moment they ran onto the park, 'it was like war.'
Australia won the series. And then there is the coach as innovator: I was coaching the Country seconds at the SCG in 1980.
The problem, as you have with rep sides, is that you have players coming in from everywhere.
I needed to create a structured defence.
I introduced right and left defence, and differentiated between the two with electrical tape.
If you were 'right-defence' you had red tape around your right arm, and if you were left-defence you had yellow tape (which in the interests of even further clarity I referred to as 'lemon' tape) around your left arm.
You had one ruck to get yourself into position.
We lost, but only by a single point, which wasn't a bad result at all for a Country side in those days.
And not a whiteboard or a guru in sight.