Training Monday 11th December

Training today in perfect conditions, low 20’s, sunshine and only a slight breeze in front of only a smattering of spectators.

Modified group of Hurley, Heppell, Daniher, FANTASIA!!!, Bellchambers, Luey, McKenna, Mutch did mostly running exercises, Hooker didn’t train, and Tippa was only out very briefly with some first year players but seemed fine, probably just managing loads.

Stringer left the track half through the session with what look like a minor leg injury, it seemed more a precaution than anything, I would be surprised if he missed more than 1 or 2 sessions.

There were various evasion, tackling and handball drills as well as routines that where similar to the session I attended last week with an emphasis on moving the ball from defence to the forward line firstly with 2 smaller groups on either side of the ground and then with more of a match simulation involving most of the players on a full program. What may have happened last week but I particularly noticed today was that there was very little handballing in these transition drills, there would have been 9 kicks to one handball so very much an emphasis on kicks both short and long. It also seemed there was more direct kicks today as well where last week quite a few went sideways or backwards, I’m sure that will have been some sort of directive.

Overall the skill level looked reasonable for this time of year with a few missed kicks but the pressure seems greater than in previous years.

A few things I noticed:

Zerk moved very well for a big bloke but needs work on his disposal particularly when under pressure.
Saad is a great mover and will surely add a lot to the team.
I had my first real look at Houlihan, he seems to move well and has a very good kicking technique.
Hartlett just looks huge to me while Hurley seems to have slimmed down even more.
Langford also was moving very well and has put on extra muscle and is now very well developed.
Paddy Ambrose is in great nick, and several times was proactive in intercepting balls, he aeems a lot more confident in his abilities and his food skills look better as well, his passes mostly are a lot flatter than in previous years where he had a tendency to kick high floaters.

To the interest of many I’m sure I spent quite a while on Franga watch. While he ran out the whole session without seeming to be in much more physical distress than anyone else, he didn’t appear to make the extra metres to create or defend space as much as I would have liked, tending instead to float along at half to 3/4 pace. On a lot of occasions real gut running at high intensity was required and was done by other players but I didn’t see too much of it from him. When he was in the play though he is very powerful and often makes things happen.

At the end of the session a group of about 10 players where having a bit a fun time where they would run backwards as if from a mark and then kick to one of the trainers leading from the goal square, with lots a yells and laughter when they took a good mark. Very noticeable in this where several shanks from Clarke under no pressure. He certainly has some work to do on his kicking. Conversely Ridley was excellent with nearly every kick being marked comfortably at full stretch. Ridley is another one that has impressed me this pre season.

I’ll post some training photos a bit later




I read this as “1 or 2 seasons” and my heart stopped briefly.


I would be very surprised and also a tad disappointed if he missed 1 or 2 seasons!
He just walked off with a minor limp I’m sure it’s nothing to be too worried about

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Pretty disappointing to read Francis is still not putting in the gut running and not being at the intensity he should be at


At least he completed a full session without tweaking a calf, hammy, etc.
So an improvement.
Got three months to build his loads, and gain some confidence that he can recover from a burst of gut running, and repeat the effort, before the drill is over ( or dinner time).


I wouldn’t exactly say he wasn’t putting in, I think the effort is there it’s more that there is still more work to do with his fitness to be a top line player. I’ve see him previously where he has looked half dead during sessions and that wasn’t the case today.

It’s more that to be great player in todays game you need a lot of high intensity often unrewarded running, and he’s not at that stage yet but he’s closer than he was.


Nackers, thank you for the excellent training reports. Great to see that Razz is back on the track, even if it’s modified.

With Stringer now deceased how are the other newbies looking … Devon “Baloney” Smith, Jordan “JoHo” Houlahan, Brandon “Beserker” Zerk-Thatcher, Matt “Muammar” Guelfi, Luke “LoL” Lavender and Adam “Glooomy” Saad? I’m also interested in Mynott but couldn’t come up with a nickname.


I came up with a nicknames, but I don’t want to say because it’s mine-not-yours.



Not to mention that, (notwithstanding nackers’ acumen ) it’s one fellas opinion from his observations, … or that he might be under instruction not to go totally full bore at this point.

Put the panic dollars away folks.

Hmmm it is interesting. One of my thoughts on watching francis play was that he did not know his limitations and consequently tried to overextend and get to too many contests. Hence, he would blow up with his limited fitness.

The optimistic in me is hoping that he is learning when he can impose on a contest and when he cannot. Thus why he looks like going not full speed.



No problem HH, I’m glad I can contribute

I saw someone in a suit near Stringer after he went off*, I’m hoping it’s not for casket measurements!

*may not be true

Smith looks like a real pro who is your true blue collar hard worker. His running after drills has been very stong. I haven’t seen anything that made me go “wow” but hasn’t missed targets or fumbled either. Seems like a big step up from Howlett, Bird and hocking etc. to me.

I like the look of Guelfi. I can understand why it was said he was thrown around a lot in his junior years he seems the sort of player that does everything well, good hands, handball, mark, kick and well balanced. The only knock on him may be he’s another slightly undersized player. I’m not sure where he would play or who he would replace with our depth the way it is but I can imagine him getting games before the year is out.

Beserker has shown some very good glimpses, some nice marks and handling of ground balls and today I was impressed with some very nifty footwork evading players in some drills. He is a bit behind in the speed of the game though and has rushed a few kicks and handballs causing turnovers. His body will also take probably a year or two but I think he will be one to watch.

Saad will fit in seamlessly. He has a strong mature body and both attacks and defends well and can particularly open up play with blistering runs. He does have a bit of a habit of miscuing when kicking across his body though, it’s something for him to work on.

Lavender has been restricted to just running so far so not much to tell, but he does have a fairly well developed body for a young big man.

I haven’t seen much of Houlahan or Mynott yet to form an opinion, although I was watching Houlahan having goalkicking practice with Smack near the end of todays session and he looked to have a very good kicking technique.


Sooooo…what’s the cut off age for Sheeds and the Premiership Cup.
Probably less than 46, right?


Absolutely, I have no idea what the training staff’s instructions are and it’s very clear all the players have very individual programs. He may well be instructed to do lots of running to position to build a base but give 100% when in the play, which was what he was doing.

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Hurley’s thinner?

No thank you.


francis will never be a gut running type. Will never have that elite fitness, just wont happen. Will end up playing like hurls whereby he stands doing sfa for 70% of gametime but then explodes at the contest when required and makes an impact.

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Hurleys on that plugga diet.