Monday 25th November
Training today in warm conditions with the customary breeze from the north.
The full squad were out there for the first time this pre season with the exceptions of JD, Stewart and Ambrose who briefly appeared at the end of the session but didn’t join in with the group. I heard an unconfirmed whisper that JD and Stewart would be out on the track next week.
The modified group consisted of Merrett, Gleeson, Shiel, Zakka, Fanta, Hurley, Heppell, Mo22ie, Hooker, Guelfi and Draper. Some of the modifed group did a little ball work but it was mostly running.
Draper was doing a lot of running and seemed to be moving very well and at quite a good pace. I actually ran into him along with Begley and Guelfi at Bunnings on Saturday and he said his knee is feeling good but will see how it goes for round 1, but didn’t rule it out.
Normally at this time of year a lot of players come back quite bulked up after doing a lot of weights over the off season, but this didn’t seem to be the case to me today.
Hurley in particular looks to have slimmed down more and overall everyone looks in pretty good shape with the probable exception of Mo22ie as previously discussed, but he seemed to be running well and keeping up with the group so I’m sure that will drop off soon.
The session was about half ball movement work and some drills and half running.
I spent some time watching a group doing marking drills consisting of Smack, Laverde, McBride, Stringer, Snelling, Tippa mainly to see how McBride went. He got lost a few times but overall did OK and took a couple of nice marks. I would love it if he could improve enough to push for selection towards the end of the year as he is a great size and moves well, but he has a lot of things to work on.
Phillips again impressed me with his overall skills and athleticism. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he got a round 1 start. Of the big men he was also the best in the running drills.
I tried to look out for McQuillan but didn’t really see much of him, it didn’t help that a lot of the training was at the far end of the ground.
It was great to see Smith complete the whole session with the main group. He has a great attitude and work ethic which rubs off on the rest of the group, we missed him last year probably more so than even Joe.
For those interested in coming down to training I asked at reception what the plans were for training dates. As usual that don’t have a definite schedule which is a bit disappointing but it would appear that they will train most days except Wednesday which will probably be a day off.
Last year the main training days were Monday and Wednesday normally starting around 10am, I think this year the main days will be Monday and Thursday. It was apparently scheduled to start around 8.30 this morning but they didn’t get out until about 9.15, so it will quite likely be an earlier start than last year as well.