Training today in cool, windy conditions at Tullamarine. It was quite a long session today, I left when they were still doing some running drills after nearly 3 hours.
The modified group was Parish, Gleeson (who spent a lot of the session on a bike), Begley, McNiece and Smack. Daniher and McKenna also made a cameo appearance for about 20 minutes each. Begley seems to be coming on quite well and I would imagine will join in the main group for some drills after Christmas.
Lavender also started in the modified group before joining the main group for the majority of the session. He initially teamed up with Bellchambers, Draper and Zac Clarke before doing ball movement drills with most of the rest of the players. As I have said before he does most things well but needs to come to terms with the speed of the game, particularly his decision making and speed of ball movement.
Hurley, Devon Smith, Francis and Redman were around the group at various staged but didn’t train. I didn’t sight Fantasia or Mosquito, they may have been doing work in the hanger. It was good to see Redman looking very upbeat sporting a moonboot, hopefully he won’t be out long.
Ham joined in a few drills, and Gown not many at all. Ham seemed a bit nervous as you would expect and fumbled a few times but seemed to move quite well.
Jok Jok completed the full session and was very impressive. He looks like he has the rare combination of elite pace and excellent endurance. He looked to me to move faster than any player out there today but Saad would no doubt give him a run for his money. His kicking today was excellent, I cant remember him missing a target in difficult conditions and his marking was safe. He fumble or missed some difficult ground balls an a couple of occasions, but overall I though it was a great first session.
Zac Clarke also completed the whole session and looks very fit. He is fairly slightly built for a tall man but is still fairly muscular. He is also very agile for his size and did everything to a very good standard. He should be very handy backup this year.
There were more specialised positional drills today, with the rucks doing drills as I said earlier, forwards working on leading patterns and marking contests and a lot of work on stoppages with the midfielders before doinf ball monements exercises with most of the group using a bit over half the length of the ground.
Laverde was the standout with the forwards working very hard to make space and then marking very strongly. He along with Brown and Stewart also spent a lot of time on goalkicking practice with Laverde again performing best I thought. Later he was doing running work alongside Ambrose and was keeping up well running at a very solid pace. He could be in for a big year if he can stay fit.
I spent a lot of time focusing on Dylan Shiel in the stoppage drills, and not having watched too many GWS games previously I can now see why he is rated so highly and why he is one of the top few centre clearance players in the competition. He has a great ability to find space in tight situations with subtle movements and little shimmy’s but also while moving at pace, along with fantastic vision and skill to find teamates by hand. Importantly I think this will bring an aspect to our midfield group that we didn’t previously possess.
Langford is another one that continues to improve in his stoppage work, he seems to be a lot more confident in his abilities and more assured of his place in the pecking order.
The other thing that was generally pleasing was the overall kicking skills of the group in difficult conditions, I saw very few kicks that didn’t hit their target.