Training this morning in hot conditions getting up to around 34 degrees with a hot northerly wind, in stark contrast to last Monday where it didn’t get much above 9 degrees.
Maybe because of the hot conditions training started earlier than normal around 8.45 and fininshed just after 11am.
Very disappointed to see no one promoted from the rehab group, in fact a number didn’t come out on the track - Joe, Hooker, Merrett, Hurley, Gleeson, Zakka, Redman, with Stewart coming out again at the end of the session to do some running and Heppell again on the bike. Redman was at least in the hanger and I saw Joe and Hooker afterwards in the cafe, they had definitley completed some sort of a session indoors.
The modified group therefore was quite small, with only Mo22ie, Ambrose, Draper, Fanta with Shiel for a short while. Draper is now doing ball work with the modified group including some running and kicking. Mo22ie still looks like he is a long way off full fitness. To add to it all Gown went down towards the end of the session clutching his right knee after a simple mishap changing directions. I have no real idea of the extent, he did manage to hobble the short distance to the hanger but it didn’t look good. Stringer trained freely and showed no signs of an ankle problem.
The first year players including the Irishman again were not there, instead there was about 4 unidentified players training, one may have been Brand but none of us in our group were sure about any of them. It’s fairly disappointing that we’re unlikey to see much of the new players at all before Christmas.
Overall it was a pretty uninspiring session. No great intensity from the players who looked like they were mostly going through the motions and some weird drills in the last couple of weeks. On Monday there was one where the players were chesting each other at low impact, today a ball was kicked to player and then another player had to run (at about 3/4 pace) and then man the mark - and that was the end of the drill. I really can’t understand what they are expected to get out of that.
Again a lot of the session was with uncontested work or with little or no pressure. I must say I have been quite disappointed with the whole pre season so far a lot of it has really been insipid, I would think it would have ramped up by now. Compared to last year when Rutten come on board and he spent a lot of the time working on specific situations, particularly a lot of man on man work, but there has been much less physicality this year and few individual drills.
Maybe they are trying to get running and movement patterns bedded down, but even that is difficult to do with so many players not taking part in the main group. But according to the club we only have another couple of sessions before they break for Christmas, and the after they return it’s only a month or so until their practice games start.
But enough of that, there are enough pessimists on here without me adding to the throng.
From today - there has been a bit of talk about Ridley lately and he does seem to be stepping up and becoming more prominent, particularly in one on one work. In a few of the sessions this year he has been one that had had some specialised work and he does now appear to be more confident in the contest.
Every time I see Smith I realise more and more how much we missed him last year, not only the pressure he brings but also his sure skills off both feet, he very rarely misses a target.
Mutch is another one who appears to be making good progress, still a little loopy with some of his kicks but he is moving very well and looking more and more comfortable in traffic.
Nothing too much else to report on, sorry it’s not very upbeat but I’ve bit a bit confused with the pre season so far.