Training in warm, sunny conditions with a moderate breeze at Tullamarine.
Training started at 2pm today so I am writing my report after tea having drunk several raspberry liqueurs. Shouldn’t make a difference but just saying.
I want to concentrate very much on the atmosphere around the club. We saw on Monday night a very positive members’ forum at Etihad. Two members of the committee returned unopposed, a positive speech from our impressive president Lindsay Tanner, and the introduction of a clutch of impressive new players – one of whose nickname is fridge “I was really fat I weighed 105 kgs” and another player described by Jackets as “an animal”. All very promising.
However it was Sheedy’s speech that caught my attention – it was vintage Sheedy that took me right back to the AGM at Windy Hill when we had recruited Van der Haar and Sheedy said “Yes, he really is 6’4””. In particular I refer to his fulsome praise of John Worsfold as coach. Think about it, he didn’t have to mention Worsfold at all but he gave him a ringing endorsement.
Fast forward to the training report that you read on Monday – very positive in every regard. Things are coming together on and off the field.
Today players trained for two hours in the heat with some quite heavy contact drills and they were as vocal as I have heard them for a long, long time. They’re tight, they’re focused and they are enjoying training. Hooker is a massive physical presence and the smaller players buzz around him like bees around a honey pot. Bellchambers and Joe are not training with the main group (again) which led to Stewart being trialed as a key forward and he is performing very credibly with LaVerde looking very dangerous around the goals as a mid size forward.
Eades hasn’t been my favourite player but I would rate his current efforts as ahead of his previous preseason. Francis is grabbing my attention on the track. His body shape has improved and I don’t see anyone else who is more focused on the field. I don’t want to be too effusive but this player could be a real weapon with his physicality and one grab marks.
I decided to spend some time watching Josh Green who was working on the smaller oval with LaVerde practising repeat leads and goal kicking. I was impressed with his set shots; he seems very compact in his action, computing the factors of distance, wind and angle very efficiently and kicking with confidence without trying to kick the cover off. Can he get the ball? Time will tell.
Back to atmosphere. The end of training was very noisy with all the players gathered together enjoying some egg throwing. I haven’t seen this at training since the Gary O’Donnell training session at Windy Hill circa 2009 when Andrew Lovett won the catching competition.
If enthusiasm means anything we are headed for an exciting season.