Training today in drizzly windy conditions with a temperature of 12 degrees, no wonder there were only a handful of people watching.
Langford, Smith, Zaharakis, Laverde and McKenna didn’t train at all.
Daniher just ran laps, and Gleeson, Begley Heppell, Redman, Lavender and McNiece were the others in the modified group doing mostly exercises and non contact drills.
All the other players completed full sessions.
Heppell, Redman and Lavender spent a considerable time as a trio doing running, marking and kicking drills.
I must say I like the look of Lavender every time I see him, he’s a bit of a forgotten man here. For someone his size he’s got great speed, kicking and hands, even below his knees. He looked lost last year in the VFL games he played but as it was his first year out of cricket and he had some injury problems it may take a while to get the game sense required, but if he can work all that out we could have a really good prospect on our hands.
There were a number of drills within the main group, mostly with groups of around 10 players focusing on most aspects of the game with marking, kicking, handballing, tackling and evasion drills. There hasn’t been any match simulation as of yet, that will probably happen in the coming weeks.
Bellchambers, Draper and McKernan also had quite a long session working with Jamar on their ruck craft with both Draper and McKernan looking impressive against Bellchambers. It was very interesting watching Jamar demonstrating various nuances with body positioning. Like Rutten he appears to be an excellent line coach
On 5 or 6 occasions at the end of drills all the players in the main group broke into 3 groups and had a race around the oval. Redman joined in on these and was a clear winner by about 25 metres in a group containing Dylan Clarke, Zerrett and McGrath in the first race. He also won the next 2 races of the group but not by as much. Francis was also in this group and ran very well finishing mid group.
I was talking for some time with @jackie_mihocek and another experienced training watcher, and we all commented on the stark difference to Francis’s previous 2 pre seasons where in this sort of race he would have been trailing the group by 50 metres or more at the finish. His running capacity and general body shape are unrecognisable from when he first arrived.
Stringer on the other hand was OK in the first couple of runs but fell away later on. He may still need another year or 2 to fully build the tank.
We all agreed though that the group has come back in excellent shape and the list in general is the best we have had since the early 2000’s