Weather was sunny, pleasantly warm with a light breeze. Arrived around 10:40am.
Reid and I think it was either Eyre or Bryan were in the hangar. Parish was doing repeat high speed laps on the other field. Jones was doing slow laps. That’s the only modified group that I noticed.
On field were
McGrath, Draper, Parish (laps), Langford, Caldwell, Francis, Snelling, Ridley, Perkins, Heppell, Jones (laps), Stringer, BZT, Ham, Guelfi, Brand, Baldwin, McBride, Durham, Waterman
I don’t think Hird was there. Definitely absent were Smith, Merrett, Sheil, Cutler, Cox, Lav, Stewart, Hurley, Hind, 2MP, Redman, Phillips, Walla.
Now the vibe… pretty damn loud. The guys had clearly been putting in a lot of running while I was having a lazy morning. Still loud and putting in a lot of energy all the way to the end of the session.
Rance is huge. On field general / coach, like a super nimble Hooker. Loudest on the field by far. Tackled one of the players during a drill HARD. Seriously don’t underestimate what this guy’s influence is on our training standards.
Did hear him say to the team after a match sim drill “We are going to be an extremely dangerous side by hand.”
Francis was also really loud, putting in a heap of high speed running during the match sims. Was slowing down a tad in the final few laps, but nothing that I worried about considering his work rate all day. He’s really switched on. Great bit of play where Francis had the ball on the wing at 50, slowed down to draw the defender to him, then passed to a now open Baldwin who kicked a goal from the pocket. For all you that are writing Francis off, yeah… don’t be so hasty…
Baldwin. He’s exactly what you’d expect from a talented bloke who’s missed a lot of football. Physically a monster, he dwarfs BZT. Does a lot of stuff really well, but is a bit rusty on some stuff. For those that question our goal kicking coaching, he was working closely with Gia to nail a technical body mechanic thing that was causing him to miss snap shots really badly. 15 seconds of diagnosing the issue, called for Snelling to kick him another ball, nailed the next kick. Don’t expect him to dominate round 1, but I can’t think of a better attitude.
Speaking of attitude. On a compressed ground simulation, 8 attackers vs 6 defenders, time was running out and the attacking team were aggressively pushing towards goal. Gia took the ball on the wing and missed a shot for goal. Guelfi shouts out “PASS IT YOU SELFISH F*CKER!” Gold.
BZT is putting in the effort. He was leading the groups running laps. Not just by a bit, he was nearly catching the group in front. Huge change from a year ago where he was struggling off the back of the pack.
That batton has been passed to Brand, who is a long way behind on endurance. That being said, his skills during the drills were top notch. The guy was likely the most fatigued of all the players on the ground, but he was still nailing all his marks and kicks.
Waterman has slimmed down a fair bit. Still a unit, but I’d expect he’ll cover the ground a lot better. Kelly looks a unit. Well to be honest, pretty much all of the guys look in fantastic condition.
General vibe right now is a lot of running, with all the match sim stuff being designed for fast flowing ball movement and minimal physical contact. The guys are in cardio / ball skills mode. I assume contested work will ramp up into next year. I did notice a lot more repeat leads by the forwards, which is nice to see.
Cafe opens back up on 6th December, along with the rest of the facility.