Training in hot conditions on the McCracken oval. It was a very, very solid workout lasting for well over two hours.
Absent Hocking & Daniher.
Modified Dempsey, Browne, Aylett, Pears, Kommer, Carlisle and Myers. Willie Wagtail briefly took up his position on the outer wing fence but then went off to seek the shade.
A lengthy practice match at first with 36 players and no interchange then 30 with limited interchange formed the backbone of today’s session. The most interesting feature of this was the absence of Daniher (and Carlisle) as forward targets which completely changed the pattern of forward play where Daniher was so often the easily identifiable target especially for long kicks.
A number of different players were rotated through the two full forward positions including the three resting ruck men, LaVerde, Ambrose and even Hooker. Hurley spent some time at cfh and was later swung into the back line. At first forward line play was congested and scrappy but as the session went on we started to see better ball use into the forward fifty although the defenders did well to shut down the centre corridor for much of the day. Despite this I had an uneasy feeling about a lack of a dominant forward target.
Colyer shone out today surprisingly for his kicking which has improved immensely since his first ever game at Shepparton where he impressed with his pace but peppered the crowd with his kicks. I remember three beautiful long goals today - one from a set shot on the boundary line with a slight cross breeze and two very good snaps including a long one on the run.
The practice match was interspersed not with 500 metre sprints like the last few weeks but with a tackling drill. Players lined up facing each other in two lines. One person in each facing pair was the tackler and the other his opponent. The loser of the contest had to do push-ups while Hirdy urged them to “get past”.
Shaun McKernan impressed me today in what was the best session I have seen him complete. Good work in the ruck was matched by good running and positioning in the forward line which was very encouraging. Goddard, Watson and Bellchambers all impressed today although each of them had the blemish of missing simple set shots for goal. Chappy also had an impressive session. Ambrose did some good things and had a kicking session with Lloyd at the end but I did notice him drop a couple of marks where the ball bounced off his hands. I’m not sure if he hasn’t got soft hands or if he takes his eye off the ball. There is a lot of potential with this player and if he can hold more marks he will be a threat on the forward line.
It was good to see Hams and Dalgleish complete full sessions. Dalgleish was used at full back for much of the time and performed credibly. Carlisle ran laps and looked very fit and strong he has definitely added some muscle in the last six months.
Bellchambers looks fit and full of life. When he went up in the ruck and caught the ball with two hands overhead then threw it forward to a teammate you would have enjoyed his sheepish grin.
A really hard session today with lots of talk and concentration. We’ll done to the players and coaches.