Training Friday 20/2/15

Training in hot conditions at Tullamarine.

A feature of today’s session was the presence of a number of top up players. I can’t name them all but they included Tippa, Hardingham, Heppel minor, Marigliani, Polkinghorne and several others. Unsurprisingly none of these particularly stood out although Tippa was clean with the ball and tackled strongly.

Absent: Edwards, Long at the all stars game.
Modified Myers, Watson, Carlisle, Cooney, Browne, Hurley, Pears, Hocking, Winderlich, Hurley, Aylett, LaVerde and Kommer.

There appears to be a glimmer of light for Carlisle who did quite a bit of running and some kicking and contested work. Fingers crossed. Pears did more this week too.

Mainly running we’re Myers, Watson, Cooney, Browne, Winderlich, Hurley and Aylett.

Today’s session which lasted for more than two hours was the hardest I have witnessed so far in this preseason. The session was largely a practice match on the McCracken Oval with the breaks in the match being taken up with other drills such as tackling so the physical activity was virtually non stop. Perhaps the lack of NAB Cup games means they have to go really hard now.

The intensity of the match practice resulted in two injuries. It’s my policy
not to detail injuries except in general terms. In the first incident Hams was kicking and his leg came across Langford’s and Hams left the ground in some discomfort with a lower leg injury. In the second Tippa laid a hard tackle on Zaka whose knee went into the turf and he left too although it looked less serious to me. At the half time break the coach told the players to “look after each other” which I took to be a reference to the injuries.

Overall the players handled the long intense session very well and among the players to stand out today were Chapman who was spending more time in the midfield, Melksham whose strong body was in everything and Gwilt whose pace and excellent disposal were used to good effect. Langford dropped a few marks but also took some good ones and at times delivered the ball with beautifully weighted kicks.

On the negative side I thought the handball lacked a bit of snap and precision and there were a number of slow looping handballs that put the recipients under pressure. I’ve been a wrap for Steinberg on this forum so for the sake of balanced commentary I thought this was an area where he could improve.

I watched Ambrose closely today and was impressed with his effort. Carlisle was giving him advice from the sidelines telling him to “push off” Dempsey to make his lead. At the same time I think his leading is being made more difficult at times by midfielders running into his leading space attempting to be the marking target. It would be better if they gave him a bit more space and followed the ball in.

The amount of talk varied and at times it was good and at other times it was lacking resulting in players being caught with the ball. Chappy showed his experience in this area when Howlett marked and Chappy yelled “roll if you want” indicating that the option was there for Howlett to run around the mark and play on.

I can’t fault the players commitment today - a gruelling session in hot conditions where they gave their all.

Cheers JM. Hopefully the injuries to Hams and Zaka aren’t serious…

How did Joe D look today?

Zaka will be fine supposedly, no word on hams.

You can’t say we had a practice match! We need some sort of code to keep ASADA off our backs.

On ya JM

People will soon understand that TIPPA is the greatest tackler in the history of football

Quoted Post

People will soon understand that TIPPA is the greatest tackler in the history of football

Get. Him. In.

Quoted Post

Zaka will be fine supposedly, no word on hams.


If Hams doesn’t return for 2016 our premiership window is closed.

I was there, fantastic morning-great intensity:


-Alex Browne has put on significant size during his rehab/stint on the sidelines.
I honestly believe this boy has something and was doing laps with Jobe at the same pace.

At one stage, Jobe was really puffing, and Browne said, “Come on, one more.”
If he makes an impact this year, it will be born out of an attitude like that.

-Goddard was incredibly vocal during the intra -club, both instructing but also admonishing players.
I’m not sure it’s really constructive to crack the sh#ts when a player doesn’t kick it to him.
But that’s what drives his game I guess-absolute intensity, always.

  • Dempsey. Obviously it’s been noted that last year he had a terrible year of personal issues to overcome.
    He seemed focused, and was also vocal. May be the trigger to a great year.

  • Langford. Yes he needs some kg’s.
    But even though he did drop a few-it’s his natural smarts, game awareness, sure hands, disposal under pressure,
    that points to a bright, bright future.

-Colyer. Really watched Trav today, and the great news is I believe that he now believes.
Sure, clisp ball handling, great decision making, and disposal-HE’S A LOCK.

Trust me everyone, what we all need is to see the boys play. After another preseason of ■■■■■ in the papers,
today was just such a release, and NOW I’m finally getting enthused for the season ahead.

Ps- Joined for year 14 in a row today. I said to the people at front desk, “Tell me we’re gonna be okay?”

I got a wink.

Either it’s all okay, or the dude at the membership department fancied me.


The local lad Laverde?

Quoted Post

The local lad Laverde?

Absent, couldn’t see him.

Zaharakis’ minor mishap
Ben Guthrie with Shane Potter February 20, 2015 12:55 PM

Essendon midfielder David Zaharakis was involved in a minor training mishap earlier this morning at Tullamarine.

Zaharakis went down clutching his right knee after falling awkwardly in a tackle laid by one of Essendon’s potential VFL top-up players, Anthony Tipungwuti.

The midfielder was carted off the ground alongside club doctor Bruce Reid and went into the rooms to receive treatment.

But the Bombers later downplayed the injury, saying Zaharakis only sustained a minor tweak to his right knee.

Despite the injury looking serious, Essendon high performance football manager Neil Craig told the star midfielder does not need scans and the expectation is that he will be fit to train on Monday.

“It’s a training session, so you don’t take any risks. There was a bit of a crash early in the first drill,” Craig said.

“That happens every session. We don’t take any risks at all. We don’t expect there to be any issues out of it.”

He was later seen with ice on his knee.

Youngster Will Hams was another casualty during the intense session, succumbing to a minor ankle injury.

Hams, who has dealt with his fair share of injury issues in the past, also left the track in a cart before gingerly hobbling towards the changerooms with medical staff.

Craig said the Bombers believe Hams’ ankle injury was not as serious as it looked.

“With those sorts of things you’ve got to wait a couple of days before things settle down a couple of days after (the incident),” Craig said.

“But at the moment the indication is that he’s OK.”

Nippy forward Travis Colyer was the clear standout in today’s training, where his speed and improved kicking were on show.

Jackson Merrett was prominent on a wing, Brendon Goddard’s ball use was first rate, and former Crow Shaun McKernan’s strength up forward was noticeable.

Jobe Watson, Jake Carlisle, David Myers, Michael Hurley and Adam Cooney were among the players not participating in the set plays.

The Bombers’ ‘top-up’ players in former Saint Clint Jones, ex-Cat Mitch Brown and ex-Demon James Magner did not take part in the session, with Craig saying he expects the trio to join in training on Monday.

The other potential candidate – Coburg’s Michael Hartley – failed his medical test and will not join the club for the NAB Challenge.

“We’ve just got to make sure all the correct procedures and protocols are ticked off first,” Craig said.

"Those guys will train once we’ve got all the paperwork done. There’s things like insurance, there’s got to be some contractual paperwork done.

“We think those guys will hopefully start to train on Monday.”

Dyson Heppell’s younger brother Aaron, highly-rated VFL ruckman Sam Tagliabue, former Lion James Polkinghorne and Tipungwuti also trained on Friday and Craig said all four were being considered as replacement players.

Craig said former Cat Jordan Schroder, who is on Essendon’s VFL list, was also in the mix for a spot.

“They’ve all been identified, so they were all pretty excited,” Craig said.

"They’ll have a couple of weeks to impress at training to push their case to play in the NAB Challenge.

"It’s a great opportunity for them. We appreciate what they’re doing for our footy club.

“Our responsibility is to try to put out the most competitive side as we can against the AFL clubs. We owe that to the other teams in terms of their preparation.”

Essendon plays its first NAB Challenge game against St Kilda at Morwell on March 7.

■■■■ reporting, or does that mean Coghlan and Marigiliani are rated below Heppell? Geez…

Not much to add to excellent reports above. My first training session for a very long time so i spent a lot of time wondering ‘who is that guy?’

Very hard, intense session in rapidly warming weather with continual match/contested play and very little recovery time. The boys earned their pay today.

Was very much a probables vs possibles split in the matchplay. All the VFL boys were in yellow tops, the ‘probables’ in the red & black, though given the number of best 22 players who were on a modified program today, I don’t think the ‘probables’ side is any real guide to what we’ll see in round 1. A few interesting ones - Langford as a probable, while Melk, Kav, Dempsey were in yellow. Possibles put up a very decent showing against a on-paper stronger squad though.

Stanton the standout for me. Just a class above, in the right spot all the time, always making space, always breaking lines. Huge effort. Heppell also a class above, winning contested and uncontested ball, just needs to sort out his kicking when he’s going full tilt, still tends to be a bit aimless there at times. Zaka was good before injury, a couple of classy low pickups, looks in really good touch for this time of year.

Bellchambers very good around the ground and took some just contemptuous marks deep forward against a smaller opponent I couldn’t recognise (#24 in yellow), but McKernan probably had the edge on him in the ruck duels I thought.

Gleeson spent a lot of time in a lockdown role on Tippa, which both of them seemed to find uncomfortable and hindering to their natural game.

Steady progression from Joe, and solid goalkicking from what I saw. Reckon he’s put on lower body strength, he seems to have a bit more explosive pace and a quicker change of direction than he did last season. Less of the gangly baby giraffe, bit more of the actual football player. Zerrett was playing as a primary midfielder and did it well, expect to see a lot of him in the guts this year.

Bags looks to have leaned down and was playing further up the ground. Jobe looks huge.

Carlisle did a lot of goalkicking from an extreme angle in the pocket, and as i was standing a bit around from the opposite point post, his kicks kept hitting me.

There were probably something like 8-9 VFL players present. I didn’t recognise all of them, but of the ones I did:

  • I don’t think Heppell jnr has what it takes for the next level up. Just not quite there.
  • Polkinghorne probably the pick of the bunch. Reliable and did most things pretty solidly
  • Marigliani is a good VFL-level footballer. At this level he still looks very big and will add weight to your pack, but he can get exposed for quickness on his feet and lacked damage with his disposal. Played hb, which I don’t think suits him that well.
  • No Tagliabue
  • Very mixed game from Tippa. Did a few very nice things, but got monstered in marking contests a couple of times. and doesn’t seem to have worked out where he fits in the gameplan yet. Looked uncertain about where his positioning was meant to be, tended to hang around in no mans land rather than going in to the contest or spreading to make an option. Sometimes lacked second effort after giving thr ball off or after an unrewarded lead.
  • was #32 in yellow Alex Hickey? He did a few ok things.

Thanks for the reports guys. Awesome work as akways.

Looks like half our team are on the modified group! Hopefully all fit before rd 1.

was gwilt playing for the probable, possible or modified team?

thanks to all our intrepid reporters.

I’m fascinated to see what Gwilt could produce if freed from playing as makeshift KP or even third tall.

Quoted Post

was gwilt playing for the probable, possible or modified team?

thanks to all our intrepid reporters.


thanks HM. do you see him slipping into a permanent role?

It seems he could pinch hit as a KP or play as a permanent Third Tall. He could play as rebounding defender. He could play as a lock down small/medium defender. Or he could play as a medium/3rd tall forward.

Does he start ahead of any of hooker, hurls or fletch as a 3rd tall? Maybe fletch but i’d say that is unlikely.

I think that the one under most pressure in the back line is probably demps so is inclusions in the ‘possibles’ is very interesting.