Training at Tullamarine in pleasant conditions.
The day started well with Adrian Dedoro telling me that the club wanted to do more for the supporters which is both sensible and pleasing. I mention one kind action later in this report.
1. The initial work involved running around the perimeter of the main oval. A series of cones indicated three different modes â€“ run, jog, walk which the players did in groups of four or five.
Three players were singled out to do repetitions around the running track â€“ Chapman, Zac Merret and a third player â€“ Dwyer I think but I‘m not sure. It was a pretty solid workout â€“ Chapman at the back Zac in the middle and the third player finishing best although it was probably not meant to be all that competitive.
2. A second exercise was groups of 6 â€“ 8 players handballing within a restricted area and the defending players trying to win possession. Zac Merret did a couple of good tackles here on his brother and Chappy but after eulogising him for his kicking in the last report he fluffed a couple today in the match play.
3. The kicking exercises practising passes not under pressure were quite impressive today â€“ a number of times I counted a sequence of 20+ without an error.
4. Full Ground â€œPractice Matchâ€ (not full on tackling). The emphasis is on positioning and moving the ball with precision to set up shots at goal. The coach emphasised talking and communication and after each goal the players were gathered together and their movement, ball use and positioning were discussed.
I thought today‘s session lacked a little bit of snap compared to last time but of course this is pretty subjective. There seemed to be a bit more back passing today in attempts to switch the platy ala Welsh but having said this there were a number of lovely passes into the forward line from Stanton to Ambrose for example and from O‘Brien and Fantasia. Chapman was pivotal in many forward moves and I was impressed by a nice mark and goal from Jason Ashby.
Fletch was played on Joe which is fairly logical and he was worked pretty hard up and down the ground. He is still a marvellous player and I get the impression that Bomber is really trying to bring the best out of him.
Rayner seems to be fitting in well â€“ obviously he is good at running but I was quite impressed with a tackle he did today.
Gives the impression of being a top bloke. Asked me to move from a restricted area behind the goals (which I wasn‘t aware of) but was very polite in doing so. A little eight year old boy came today with his Mum and wanted to get a photo. His favourite player was Jobe who wasn‘t there but his mum told me that Jason took him under his wing and gave him his signed Anzac Day jumper. Guess who his favourite player is now!
It is significant that in the match practice today Winderlich addressed the players on a couple of occasions and obviously has a strong leadership role with the younger players.
Martin was given tackling practice today separate from the rest of the group â€“ part of player development I guess. Time and time again he tackled a trainer holding a tackle pad front on around the waist and later one on one without the pad. A second trainer was introduced and a ball thrown in the air and they competed for it overhead. Good to see the club developing specific areas to work on with individual players. Gleeson has a lot of skills but is still lightly framed.
As far as I can ascertain we don‘t have one at present despite having a huge coaching staff. If anyone has any knowledge about what is happening here I would be interested to hear.
Goal Kicking practice.
I know that many of you will be saying hooray. NOB, Ashby, Stanton and Joe all had goal kicking practice after main training. Neil Craig worked with Ashby and NOB which was good but the bulk of the work was done by Joe and Stants with a coach I can‘t identify â€“ I suspect it might have been Bassett â€“ with some help from Craig.
Joe had about thirty shots at goal from CHF in fairly quick succession with no one on the mark to speak of. I imagine he is trying to find his rhythm and Craig was able to tell him he was â€œgetting better.â€ I thought last year he was having problems when kicking on an angle but that can come later as he refines his action and gains confidence. He keeps his eyes fixed down on the ball as kicks and I think does slightly better when he elevates the ball more so than lower kicks punched at the goals. I thought this was the most pleasing aspect of the day.
Stants did a lot of shots at goal too and possibly this indicates that he might spend a bit more time in the forward line this year. He finished off by practising bananas from both pockets and did quite well.
Its been interesting to see the younger players together for a couple of weeks â€“ next Wednesday is the open training session with everyone back then not much happens until January 6th.