Ventured out to the TVSC to see training for the first time. He's a re-cap of what I saw/noticed:
- Arrived just after 10am. the VFL group were training on the Etihad sized oval. This group included Pears, Jetta, Dell'Olio, Havanagh, O'Brien so you can safely assume they are not in the 25 man squad for Round 1. Dalgleish and Dempsey also participated in full training as did Melksham.
- Noticed Bellchambers come out just after I arrived and firstly walk laps and then jog laps. Didn't seem to limp at all and showed no obvious discomfort. Later, when the senior squad came out he ran out and spent a deal of time having what looked like a friendly, jovial chat with Doc Reid out on the ground. At the end of the senior squad training as the squad practiced kicking for goals he even took a few kick outs back to the players albeit tentative ones. My guesstimate is that he is a 4+ weeks away from being ready to play at any level.
- Back to the VFL training - very bright, many kicks into the wind seemed really wind affected. Basically used half the ground (about 20 players) with the defensive team applying only moderate pressure on the attacking team - their jobs almost to guard space and channel the attacking team to kick to certain the ground. Very little physical contact involved; just a relentless desire to talk things up, keep the ball moving and run. Raynor, despite being a rookie was very vocal and his ability to give the ball off, run past to receive and give it off again is as good as anyone. Gregory is rather unique - very tall and lean. Seems to want to hang back and wait for the ball (once the ball got chopped off) but then other times he attacks the ball really well and picks up low and kicks off his left beautifully in a single motion. Don't really know what to make of him - classic project player in my mind. The mood was upbeat and that includes Pears & Jetta.
- Senior squad came out onto the MCG sized oval just after 1030 I think and there would have been 26-28 players in this group including Ambrose (big unit, not surprised to see him elevated), Ashby, Gleason, both Merretts and even Winderlich who didn't participate fully in the 35-45 minute training (jumping the fence to join the VFL squad at one point) but he moved very well and looks completely over his hamstring strain.
- Senior training was really about moving the ball from one end of the ground to the other with some of the assistant coaching staff acting as "defenders" (only about 3 of them) in certain parts of the ground. Basically 2/3 of the players would be on and 1/3 off and they would rotate a group every few minutes. Bomber very vocal with the last line defenders at one point about what he wanted - not angry, more demonstrative. You wouldn't be in any doubt as a player with Bomber around as to what's expected. Hurley looks a little puzzled by the "science" of the talk and seems much more comfortable in the actual art of doing - like some kids at school who just don't get the theory and revel in the practice. Like the VFL training, quite upbeat, players vocal, mood good. There was a definite emphasis on moving back off the mark quickly if the mark was taken - often a call would go out to player about to mark to practice this rather than just play on. Goal kicking at the end - to the southern end where I was standing - was a bit hit & miss but the wind is much stronger than you think on the ground compared when you drive in. JD & Carlisle were ok but no one nailed goals regularly and there were a number of posters. It seemed more of a way to wind down from training than a deliberate & serious attempt to work on goal kicking.
- Just before the goal kicking practice started the players huddled in the middle and there was a round of applause - I assume for the player - or players - making their debut tomorrow night. Ambrose debuting would not surprise me in the least. If he and Gleason both debut I wouldn't be surprised either.
- Besides Bellchambers Hams, who I didn't notice, would be the only player I think unavailable for selection. The list is in a healthy state.