Training today in hot conditions, it reached 33 degrees by the time they finished a long session of a little over 2 1/2 hours.
The modified group consisted of Daniher, Begley, Hooker, Zerk, McKenna and Long.
Gleeson did the first third of the session with the main group before moving to the modified for more running when the training went to more contested work. Ridley started with the main group but had left half way through, I didn’t see what happenned to him. Smith also did the first half of the session with the main group before getting a rubdown from trainers and moving to running on the second oval. Francis did about 3/4 of the session before leaving with what looked like a corkie.
Tom Bellchambers completed the whole session with the main group as did Parish, however he only used his left foot when kicking. Fantasia only had the 2 fingers on his left hand strapped and looked as good as ever.
Absent were McPhee, Mossie, Gown, Ham and Jok.
I am pleased to say it looked like Daniher and McKenna in particular had stepped up their training in the modified group. They both did numerous sprints at a much higher intensity than previously and didn’t to my eyes show any particular discomfit apart from natural tiredness. Not to discredit any previous reports at all but that was what I saw today. Daniher as part of a drill kicked a couple of balls across his body from about 50 without any discomfort which I also took as a good sign.
There was a lot of work around stoppages today. For quite a while there was a rotation of 4 different groups of 4 players simulating a centre square clearance with 2 groups of 4 opposing each other. The thing that stood out to me the most was the depth of our midfield, as another group was brought in it was always a quality group. One thing to note was that Stringer was part of this group and Francis wasn’t.
There was also specialised training again on body work with Rutten in a group of key position players consisting of Hurley, Brown, Stewart, Hartley, Smack. I took a few pics today and will upload some examples of some of the work he has been doing.
Later there was 2 different groups working in different directions near the boundary. I wasn’t completely sure of what they were trying to achieve but it was clearly around player movement around stoppages. There was a lot of instruction and talk from the coaches telling different players to come in or stay out and where to go to during the plays.
Towards the end of the session there was a very intense session of keepings off with a group of 5 players trying to get off 10 consecutive handballs in a very confined area against 2 defenders. At one point Ambrose laid a Brad Hill type tackle on Parish which led to a large scuffle of players with Ambrose, Myers and Stringer prominent. In this age we know it didn’t happen unless you get the photos - luckily I did with the evidence to be uploaded shortly. It ended in good spirits with handshakes all round but was a good example of the intensity.
A couple of standouts from today - McGrath, it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes the transition from a midfield rotation to a genuine weapon this year. Instead of making the quick handball he is now running the ball out of stoppages and his shimmies and change of direction are elite. His extra size gained in the off season is also helping to break more tackles.
I was also very impressed with Guelfi in the keepings off drill, he had time, composure and very rarely missed a target. Another one who will be hard to keep out of the team.