Training at Tullamarine in cold, overcast conditions.
A combined report from Karma Bomber and myself today with some photos later.
Earlier this year Woosha said the second part of the season would be better than the first, presumably because the players would have played together more and although trying to gauge the mood around the club is somewhat akin to trying to predict Brexit I get the impression this is occurring certainly the mood today and at last Saturday’s session is very upbeat and good performances in the Seniors and Seconds the weekend before have contributed to this.
Training today has ramped up a notch but is still below maximum effort as the players are being managed before their trip west, which for some of them, follows a trip to Byron Bay during the bye. The Wiley coach has remarked the ground to make it narrower like the Subiaco Oval he knows so well.
Joe Daniher and the two McKennas.
Karma Bomber relates that he was talking to Peter McKenna about Joe’s kicking. For those of you too young to remember Peter McKenna was a long haired Collingwood idol who played full forward and was arguably the most accurate drop punt for goal in the league at that time. “Regardless of the breeze I just waited for the goal umpire to stop moving (long white coats and hats in those days) and I lined it up and kicked it straight over his head.” He goes on to say that Joe is doing himself no favours by trying to hook the ball all the time from a high ball drop. Good kickers guide the ball with one hand down onto their foot.
We had a brief conversation with Bluey McKenna today when he asked us “Did you like what you saw?” To which Karma replied “it would be good if Joe could get in front!” McKenna laughingly replied “At times he does but they kick it over his head!”
While on the subject of McKenna it appears to us that he is doing a good job as development coach. Evidence of this can be seen in two new drills he has introduced.
the Zig Zag Drill.
This one takes me back to primary school days at Aberfeldie Primary School where we played a game called crossball where we lined up in two parallel lines facing each other and had to pass a netball back and forth from one end of the line to the other. Today two parallel lines of spears were set up about twenty metres apart with a player standing at each spear. McKenna had them kicking off ONE step to the player diagonally opposite in a drill designed to improve accuracy and speed of ball movement. When it worked really well a player would be turned in one direction delivering a kick then swivelling to reflex mark an incoming ball already in the air. Fantasia did particularly well in this drill punching the ball off one foot with great speed and accuracy. A very compact and efficient ball user.
The Sumo Drill.
Players really liked this one which appears to be designed to move the ball forward rugby style in pack situations. A square is marked with four discs ten metres apart and pairs of players, one with the ball and one as tackler, competed with the player with the ball trying to reach the other end of the square without being forced to the ground or out of bounds. There were many good contests. Dea tackled Kelly who dropped the ball to cries of "squib, squib"from his teammates. Next time Kelly returned the favour and nailed Dea. The players were vocal and excited and this is evidence of the positive mood around the club at present.
I will finish with a Fletcher reminiscence. We were having our cocoa in the Sheedy Cafe when talk turned to umpires. Harry related the following story of Fletch getting a fifty metre penalty. “What for I didn’t say anything?” The umps replied “You had a look of disgust on your face.” I really miss Fletch.