Training in mild, overcast, windy conditions at Tullamarine.
Draft day! Nobody knows who Adrian will take with the first pick - McGrath and McCluggage being the favourites - but there is general agreement that we are pleased to have stuck it up the lazy journalists who would like to have their draft story written a week in advance. It seems to me that there is a greatly increased respect for our recruiters on this site and I am confident that their decisions will be good ones.
There is one blitzer on this site who would like to see McGrath selected as he will be the first Essendon player from Brighton Grammar since Albert Thurgood!
Daniher and Zac Merrett were in the Hangar today and Bellchambers was unsighted while McKenna remains in the Emerald Isle and Laverde continues his post appendectomy recovery. The whereabouts of Xavier Richards are unknown we may know more by the end of the day. Hocking, Myers, Green and Howlett spent a lot of training time on the small oval and running laps. Howlett was flying and Myers and Hocking both ran well also as training loads are being managed and niggles finessed.
One of the more physical,drills involved repeat leads over about twenty metres with a defender wearing the leading player like a glove and applying lots of physical pressure in all ways, except for holding, to prevent the attacker breaking free to receive a pass. The duels between a leading Zaka and a defending Parish was very physical with Corrigan urging “Good Darcy get into him, get into him.” which left Parish quite exhausted for a short time. Langford had a somewhat problematic day today when he asked Corrigan what the drill was he was told “I just told you Langers but you were talking, figure it out!” ,later Luenberger clipped him solidly over the ear when trying to spoil from behind. Luey was quite physical today and later on laid a strong tackle on Fantasia which is a good sign for the big man.
With Bellchambers and Daniher absent the most interesting part of today’s session revolved around moving the ball down the ground to allow the small forwards to score. I don’t know if Green will force his way into the side but expect Fantasia and Walla to work in tandem finding space on the forward line and running in to mark or goal. Both players were outstanding today and backed up by the speedy Colyer we can expect a much greater contribution of goals from our small forwards. This appears to be an exciting development and if they can improve the crumbling at the feet of the tall forwards as well there is much to look forward to.
The watch on Francis continues and I am pleased to comment on two good things he did today. On the forward line he ran straight at the ball as it headed towards the boundary and powered between Brown and Ambrose as if they weren’t there. In the repeat 200 metre sprints around the boundary line he won the first sprint before dropping back with each repetition as he tired leaving the outcome of the sprinting to be decided between Walla and Redman who is making steady progress throughout the training sessions.
I have been critical of the skills exhibited in some of the passing drills and quite rightly too. However I am pleased to report that in one 20 metre passing drill the sextet of Luenberger, Fantasia, Heppel, Gleeson, Baguley and Redman completed every pass without a single mistake so hopefully progress is being made.
A good hard session today before they head off to training camp at Cerebus where the new draftees will meet with the rest of the players for the first time and Worsfold can begin to integrate everybody into the march for flag number seventeen and this club resumes it’s rightful position in the football universe.