A rather chilly morning of about 15 degrees with fluffy white and woolly lambs scudding across a cornflower blue sky in fitful leaps, tacking to erratic and intermittent gusts of wind blah blah blah
A largish crowd turned out – though most of them late, to an early training session which began at 0915 and finished at about 1245. Today followed a similar pattern to last Wednesday. Reds vs Whites Match Sim of four 10 minute quarters, with 15 minute drills on O2 in-between them. A nice little touch today was an electronic big-screen scoreboard (screen), and pumping music.
The initial modified training group consisted of Hepp (also doing push-ups and later in one qtr of match sim), Mutch (fast runs), Redman (sprinting), Gleeson, Merret (mild runs), Gown (light running and marking), McNiece (probably a zombie doppelganger), Begley and Hooker (mainly boxing). I was thinking today, that there’s a lot of boxing going on at clubs which is great for cardio and upper-body work – but man, these guys never move their feet! They’d last about 20 seconds in a real fight. Anyway…
Match Sim was quite exciting, aside from the scoreboard. You can feel the intensity of these sims raise the closer we get to season start. Joey was in full flight defended by first Brown (who later went forward) and then by Hurls. Dea defended Stringer who in turn was making an obvious point of harassing Guelfi who was defending Shiel. Laverde played as an inside mid in beast-mode and Jok played in defence as was Oirish who looked to be at full capacity.
Francis showed his regular class in field kicking and his uncanny reading of the play to intercept.
The two drills that broke up Match Sim were as last week – what I like to call Piggy Tackle – where one player stands in the middle of 6 others, and stops them one by one from taking a ball through the centre to the other side. The other main drill was the ol’ Sprint,Turn,Run,Turn,Sprint,Weave,Snap drill. I’ll try and get a clip up of that one if the name isn’t descriptive enough. This one is for the small to mid forwards and mids. The group closest to me was Walla, Bags, Begs, Houla, Fanta. Other groups were conducting agility and running drills.
Qtr 3 Match Sim, Ambrose was on Jayden. Would love to see these two really go at it. Immovable object meets unstoppable object stuff. Hurls played on Joey who tried for an off-the-deck poke/snap to goal, alla his famous one last year (?). Point. He led well though, and scored a few nice goals. Saad had a lovely pass from half back at full tilt. Long played off half back also, and typically with some nice field passing, but also generated some run and carry.
Dlarke fluffed a number of kicks. Generally speaking, kicking was off today. It was swirly windy though. Parish was in the thick of it, and had a number of aggressive bursts out of the pack. The players I did not see in Match Sim were Gleeson, McNiece, Gown, Mozzie and Hooker. Stewart was unsighted all day.
More drills at the half-time break. Keepings off, mainly, and Francis and Saad looking very nice in this.
Qtr 4 had Parish vs Guelfi and Zerk vs Zlarke. Guelfi looks impressive, I keep saying this. After training, he was taking speccies off the trainer pads and looked awesome. McGrath once again performed his hypnotic weaving through traffic, though he was caught and tackled to the ground by Langers at one stage. Zlarke looks very good this pre-season. Has played a lot up forward.
Following Match Sim, 2 groups of about 6 players performed a type of Beep Test/goal kick while the rest did their own personalised drills – rucking, running, etc. Joey and Houla had a goal-kicking contest, with Joey winning easily. I must say –at this stage, I do not see much future for Houlahan. His kicking and stamina is sub-par. His attitude is questionable. He has the occasional speccie. We’ll see.
In the beeps, players did five timed ‘laps’ , stopping dead at a whistle, followed by a set shot. The first group was led by Brown, then Raz, Laverde, Bags, Walla and Houla. The other group was a long way away, but the order was Shiel, Jok, Zaka. Shiel was the only player I saw to not have missed a kick today. So much for his erratic kicks.
Last year, Bomber fans were mesmerised by the scintillating run from Saad, Walla and McKenna. This year we will be in awe of McGrath and Shiel cruising in and out of traffic with time standing still.
It’s a beautiful thing to see.