In what is a rare occurrence, there was no JM to be seen out at the True Value Solar Centre today so I thought I’d have a crack at it in his stead.
The conditions were absolutely perfect for skill execution today given that it was dead still with no wind to speak of, albeit pretty damn warm out there.
First things first I’ll just go over who was there and who wasn’t etc:
There was a guest appearance from BJ. He decided to pop in prior to his scheduled return and was ticking the legs over running laps.
Modified- Smack, Tbell, Howlett, Green
Lav- on bike. Would walk around but never got into a jog. I since read via CJohns that he has recently had his appendix removed which is kind of nice to know it isn’t anything musculoskeletal.
Joe absent again
Heath, Jobe, Myers, Heppell, Stanton, Hurls, Colyer broke off about 2/3rds of the way through and went to the other oval to do a quick running drill as a group. They finished about half an hour before the others.
I really liked the drills that they did today. The two main focuses were decision making (emphasis on QUICK decision making) and also picking your way through a zone.
One particular drill which aimed to work on better decision making was where a coach would drill a short kick to a player who would mark it with his back to a group of 3 about 30m ahead of him, one of whom was a defender and the other two an option for him to kick to. The thing was though was that these 3 were in a confined space (cone marked) of about 20m in width. Once the player had taken the mark he had to wheel around quickly and pick out 1 of these two options. Cale Hooker was outstanding in this drill as the kicker and consistently hit targets in quick time. His kicking really has come a long way from the early days. He was sensational by foot all session across all drills. Whilst I’m on him, he was intermittently having goalkicking practice under the eye of an assistant coach and nailed the majority.
There was a second drill that was also about skill execution as much as it was decision making. The player would take a mark and then had to wheel immediately onto their left foot and hit a guy surging off a cone towards goal. A 45 degree kick really. Jobe measured his kicks best out of the non left footers in this one. More than once the player didn’t have to break stride. Langford and Raz also good in this regard. Francis needs the most work on his left foot judging by this one. Hepp telling him ‘tidy it up Frang’.
In the drills that worked on kicking through a zone they kind of cut out the wings to try and force the play into an exercise of going through the corridor. Defensive team vs Attacking team. Was done pretty well as a whole although the nature of the confined space with a mass of players really tested the skills. Harts and McNiece had nice moments as the initial distributor here. The standouts were Zac Merrett, and Walla. The best guys at getting out the back of the press with hard running were Stants and Fanta. One guy who struck me with how well he moves in surging towards goal was Paul Stewart. He moves like a small who just happens to be nigh on 200cm. Defensively Xavier Richards and Hurls did well applying heat and spoiling their man. Yestin also left his man and cut across to kill the attacking foray with a thumping fist which drew encouraging applause from team mates.
The highlight of the session for me was produced by Zac Merrett. The attacking team had about 3 players out the back, one of whom was Morgan. He picked up the bouncing ball and went to steady to shoot at goal and while everyone else in the defensive team had given up on it, Zerrett came flying through with 100% committment and wrapped Morgan up in a massive tackle just as he had begun his kicking action.
After this, and one or two other drills, they split into groups to do interval/fartlek training for 5 minutes non stop. Francis and Yestin had their own specialised group in this. Skippy and one or two of the physios had to ride Yestin hard here as he was slacking off and failed to make the cone with the 15 seconds on a few occassions.
A couple of other things to note was they are taking Darcy, Walla and Jake Long out at times to run repeat 200m runs on the clock. Trying to improve their speed endurance.
Finally, the last drill emphasised one on one marking with a pair of players having 5 duels in a row. Fanta great in this vs Yestin and later vs Redman. Unfortunately though in one of these which featured Stewart vs Franga, the latter tangled his legs and hurt his lower left leg and had to stop and have a chat with the physio. It looked like from their motioning that it was an eversion sprain rather than your typical inversion rolled ankle. It didn’t appear super serious and he was able to walk off, albeit a little gingerly (no pun intended). So if he’s not there at the big evening open session on Tuesday which I’m sure a few on here will be going to, you’ll know why. But as I said, I don’t think it looks like anything too major.
Blardy hell. That’s a wrap. Don’t know how Jackie does this all the time haha.