Training in balmy conditions at Benalla showgrounds.
Its a beautiful oval - large and well grassed and surrounded by trees. Goal posts not up yet so the players had to make do with portable ones but otherwise an excellent venue.
You will know that about 90% of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy about which we know little and only about 10% is gasses, rocks, people etc. Training is a bit like that as we glimpse and understand only a small percentage of the week's work in open training sessions and have to draw what conclusions we can from this limited information. Never the less a number of observations can be made:
Firstly in the practice match match today the players were starting to look quite sharp and the passing by hand and by foot and the running to position were quite commendable today. I get the impression that players are really trying to adhere to a plan and execute their skills with precision.
Secondly so much of training is about teaching and we would constantly see a passage of play leading to a forward thrust followed by a post mortem by the coaches with players in groups in the midfield and forward lines with many gestures and much arm waving to indicate the way the play should have gone and where players had to run to.
Thirdly there is much individual skills work - e.g. players taking running shots at goal from the forward pocket some times kicking on the full and other times trying to master leg breaks and off breaks to toll the ball through. Steinberg, Dell and Hocking were among the players that handled this well.
- e.g. Neil Craig working with Edwards and Baguley to master the torpedo kick at goal. Edwards' short and medium disposal is excellent but he can't consistently do good long torps yet but it is excellent that he is being taught the skill.
Baguley is very good at this skill and gets the ball high in the air and spinning correctly. I have noticed him having quite a bit of goal kicking practice in the pre season and wonder if we are going to see him playing forward at times. Certainly he is being used as a key distributor of the ball out of the backline.
- e.g. Ambrose practicing leading and marking at pace. I have been a little critical of his goal kicking so far but today I thought he did better.
Then there are the mysteries. Bomber had a long talk with Jetta today - at least fifteen minutes in my estimation with much arm emphasis by Bomber to indicate things he wanted Leroy to understand, possibly positioning and running but of course I don't really know. The test of a coach is whether he can get the best out of individual players. In Jetta's case under Hird he spent a lot of time in the reserves but he is an immense talent which hopefully Bomber can tap. My guess is that he is a very instinctive player who perhaps has problems following the game plan at times and this is what Bomber is trying to overcome.
I will conclude by saying that every time I go to training my eye is drawn to Joe Daniher. He looks to be much improved and so much of the forward play seems to revolve around getting the ball to him that he is surely the pivot around which the forward line will revolve and he will be critical in bringing the other forwards into the play at his feet. He will be hard to stop on a fast lead and is fitter and stronger than last year. His goal kicking - well he is certainly working on it and should do better this year with his set shots which will in turn lift his confidence.