Training in cold windy conditions on the McCracken Oval.
Last major session for the year and it felt like Custer’s last stand. About 24 fit players in claret training tops on the oval and Gwilt, Watson, Aylett and Carlisle doing some work on the other oval.
A small crowd of about fifty huddled in front of the cafe and Fletcher injured his wrist from signing copies of his book but carried out the task with his usual courtesy and good humour. He won’t play this week but exits as the champion that he is with grace and dignity.
It was disappointing that the coaches took much of the training at the airport end away from the spectators but I suppose they had their reasons. I won’t report too much on what I witnessed because it was fairly standard but the players performed bravely in the circumstances trying to muster enthusiasm and Bassett continually exhorted them “flat out!” during the leading and marking drill which was probably the most interesting today.
Laverde v Connor
Hooker v Daniher
Jarrett v Long
Dempsey v Langford.
It was interesting to see Lloyd involved in the drill as he now does much more than goal kicking practice under Egan’s direction. It was suggested to me that Chapman might make a useful forward coach and I quite like the idea. It was good to see leading rather than simply kicking the ball high on Daniher’s head. It would be even more useful if they weren’t leading so much to the pocket but others must know best.
Monday the players will have a quiet drink together - for some the last time. Tuesday and Wednesday they will have their exit interviews then eight weeks off or in some cases to the next stage of their lives.
It’s been the worst season I can remember including the 70’s Kenny Roberts era but I think we should all look forward to next season. WADA will be over, six to eight new players will change the dynamics of the list and a new coach with fresh ideas should energise the club. I’m optimistic I hope you are too.
Thanks for everything throughout the year. Appreciate all your efforts in a very difficult time for us all.
I admire your optimism, but can’t see such a bright immediate future myself. But I hope I’m wrong and you’re right.
Agree about the worst season - the 70s were a doddle compared to the last few.
Thanks for your training report efforts all season. Much appreciated.
Thanks for all your reports. It has been a real pleasure reading them.
Thanks for the training report.
You always seem to do a report when the focus is getting too far off the actual footy.
Hopefully the new coach gives good access to training sessions next year also.
The melancholy is palpable.
Thanks for the reports.
Love it. Like being there.
Thanks for the report Jackie.
I have watched every season since 1963, and there have been some shockers in that time. This one has been bad, but injuries and the SAGA make it understandable. 2006 was the year that sticks out to me as the worst ever. We did have some close losses, but were smashed regularly and the list was older and in worse shape that our current one. Three wins for the year was worse than this year; ironic though that Carlton are back where they belong this year as they were then.
Is Jake Carlisle in doubt? I hope it is not the last time we have seen him. Please stay Jake!
thanks Jackie, you’re a legend!
Thanks Jackie. Really appreciate these reports.
Attended training as well, so to add/clarify a few things and give a different perspective to Jackie’s fine write-up.
I didn’t see Carlisle train with the modified group at all; he trained fully with the main group as far as I could tell and was fully involved. I thought the modified group consisted (mainly) of Watson, Gwilt (at least initially) Zac Merrett & Aylett.
Of the regular senior players I don’t recall noticing Howlett or Hurley but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there - as Jackie said, the bulk of training was at the airport end of the MCG sized oval.
Quite a reasonably upbeat session with foot skills (in admittedly freezing winds) traversing the full range of an ancient Greek tragi-comedy that, thankfully, didn’t result in any lessening of enthusiasm. Occasionally the foot skills were good but most of time they were as you have been seeing in our games. Clearly an area to work on over the pre-season.
Interestingly, Edwards was part of the midfield group of players for drills when the players were split between backs-mids-forwards and did quite well. He has very quick hands and reflexes in close. He looms as a logical replacement for Dempsey (who trained fully despite being suspended). Langford trained with the forward group and looms as the logical replacement for Chapman. I would love to see Edwards play on Sunday and spend time in the middle. We have nothing to lose by trying this.
Speaking of the forward group, it’s interesting to see Hooker matched up 1:1 to Daniher. Hooker is very competitive at each contest. Daniher isn’t until he has been beaten 2-3 times in a row by Hooker then he lifts his competitiveness and starts winning the battle against Hooker. Lesson there for young Joe - you have to be 100% competitive in contests 100% of the time. Amongst other things, this is what makes KP players like Hooker & Hurley elite.
I thought training was a lot more “technical” today than what I have seen the 2-3 other times I have been to training this year. The main drill was one that used 2/3 of the ground and started at HB with a free to a player who had to move it forward. They did this repeatedly and were called in after (nearly) each one and often there was a white board (I think that’s what it was from my distance) being used to educate the players. Whether by chance or design, sometimes the ball movement would be by foot, other times by hand/running before releasing by foot further up the ground. The ball movement looked far better when using a handball/running game initially than trying short kicks from the start - even at training you could see players hesitate slightly once they marked the short kick and the movement slowed down appreciably and was less direct.
I didn’t know what to expect on the last training session of the year but the team didn’t train with an air of doom & gloom or look like they had only won 5 games for the year. The coaches worked them hard, there seemed to be a technical element to the training I hadn’t noticed before and the players were largely in good voice throughout. Again though, the foot skills were so so and that’s the #1 area we need to improve in heading into 2016.
Thanks for the report Jackie.
I have watched every season since 1963, and there have been some shockers in that tUqime. This one has been bad, but injuries and the SAGA make it understandable. 2006 was the year that sticks out to me as the worst ever. We did have some close losses, but were smashed regularly and the list was older and in worse shape that our current one. Three wins for the year was worse than this year; ironic though that Carlton are back where they belong this year as they were then.
It’s been worse this year because the supporters have been conflicted between supporting a legend of the club at a personal level and supporting a team that needed a more effective game plan to be successful on the field. It has been a horrible dilemma which has sometimes turned supporters who had been friends against each other. Hopefully that’s over now and people can agree to disagree and support the new coach.
Thanks for those weekly reports Jackie and others. Good stuff.
I’ve watched Essendon play for over 55 years and to me 2015 is the worst season of them all with the combination of the on field and off field issues.
However, the clubs has done well to have its head just above water. The positives are that supporters are hanging in and the players and coaches have done a terrific job to maintain some sort of focus. Sponsorship also is currently strong.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanks for the reports, not only today but all year
Oh yeah, footy.
Cheers again Jackie for all your work this year
Yes, thanks from me too. A long year of dedicated watching, great job.
I have great confidence in the future for the record. We’ll bounce back hard.