Training Report. December 1

Summer is here! It’s a wonder it remembered to arrive, given Spring had largely taken sick leave for most of its allotted time.

Be that as it may, the first day of summer promised warm and pleasant conditions, at least in the early part. A late afternoon storm was predicted, but that needn’t bother us for our purpose. Which was, of course , to get along and check out the first day of training likely to include the new draftee’s. Which, happily, a few of us did. And which, forthwith, we shall endeavour to transpose into prose. Or mental pictures. Or real pictures. Or some such.

So. I very likely missed the first few minutes. At least, the players were all out on the oval, and i’m not of the inclination to suggest that they were awaiting my arrival. Largely as they weren’t.

Let us begin, as several of us were there, with a mercifully brief account of those that were not there. Reid was not spotted. Nor was Francis. And likely to the chagrin of the hype-train engineers, neither was Baldwin. Hurley was there, but if he trained, it was only indoors. Cox was spotted briefly, once again in runners, and like Hurley, if he did anything, it was away from prying eyes and longish camera lenses. No sign of the potential SSP players. No surprise there.

The modified group is a fluid one. Lav was in runners and on light duties. Heppell, Kelly, Parish, Wright all did stationary work. But all also joined in more active , err, activities, across the morning. Harry Jones continued to do mainly running work, as per my only previous training attendance thus far. He is looking in very good condition, and no doubt everything is being weighed against his stress problem in his foot. He seemed to be moving well, took a few impromptu shots at goal and headed off to the 2nd oval for some run-throughs.

Which brings us to the first of the new draftee’s that I’ll mention. Lord accompanied Jones in his running pursuits on the 2nd oval. And then proceeded, from what i could see, to do nothing but running drills and laps for the duration. If he was thrown into the football drills, i missed it. He may have been. The new lads were in and out of the session at times, doubtlessly a managed beginning to their careers. Lord is fairly slight by AFL standards, but i was pleasantly surprised that he isn’t without a reasonable physique.

Hobb’s, on the other hand, seemed to do no running drills at all, but a fair proportion of the footy stuff. I posted in the player thread that he is as advertised - competitive, driven and impressively clean by hand. Kicking looked fine too. But it was a couple of half volley gathers whilst being pressured that stood out. And an ability whilst being buried in a tackle from Durham to still get the hands free and fire out a handpass in Parish style. Speaking of Parish…no, that can wait. Hobbs is clearly very willing and happy to engage in physical contact. It doesn’t always work - optimism was an attempt to bump Tippa out of position in a marking contest. Tipp didn’t move, Ben involuntarily headed in the other direction in accord with Newtons rules of motion. But the intent and instinct is there. He’s clearly not going to die wondering, seeking advice and instruction from coaches and players. And he may, possibly, just possibly, have given McDonagh a cheeky little gut punch after a tackle. They had a drill where two players had to contest a mark , allowing it to fall to ground and then various ground level players - forwards and defenders - had to go to work. Hobbs seemed fairly adept at making the spoil , and was pretty keen to follow up. At ground level in this drill, from memory he spent time matched on Durham and Hind. Safe to say, a promising first look at our first selection.

Garrett probably did more of the footy stuff than Hobbs. Which makes some sense, he’s probably more ready to go being an player. I didn’t notice him a lot, but he did unleash the left foot into a fairly strong breeze to good effect. He’s a solid build, without being hugely defined or built, and can hold his ground in a contest, though many of the drills required the “defender” to ultimately allow the “forward” to run onto the footy. He ran some laps at the end with Hobbs and Voss and looked pretty comfortable.

Voss is just a big unit. People have labelled Baldwin as “hulking”. Nup. This is the kid who will be deserving of that soubriquet after a preseason or two. Looked pretty good leading at the footy, and if the pre-draft commentary questioned his kicking, based on today it’s not because of inadequate technique. The kicking action looks sound. He did miss a few targets heading into a pocket, but so did plenty of others in identical fashion. There was a breeze blowing from the north and it caught a few out. The way he moves and carries himself reminds me of another player, but I can’t yet pinpoint who. Given Lord isn’t the ultra-light that i had suspected, we’ve just added some pretty decent strength to the list. Particularly if you add in Kelly as well. Potentially, we won’t be as easy to shift off the ball as an average next season.

Bryan started to emerge a bit today, i thought. A couple of big pack marks stood out for their one-grab manner. In the first session i saw, he did mainly running drills, and the footy work didn’t really require ruck roles. Similar today, but in the “match sim” ball movement work he got to good positions and took the marks i mentioned in both attack and defence.

Caldwell looks in great nick. As per last year, he just seems efficient by foot off both sides . Cross fingers, toes and anything else you can bend that he gets a decent run at it.

I agree with Monday’s reports that Shiel is moving well. Looks ready to go. It’ll be interesting to see his role and how we set up to use him. If he’s 2nd possession from the stoppage and improves his kicking just a bit , he’ll be destructive. As long as the forward line know what’s going on.

Parish. Good grief. We’ve all bemoaned his time spent in the forward pocket. We know this. But when you peer through a long lens and see exactly how he hunts the footy, the sense of balance and awareness of what’s around him and an outright air of self belief in the way he carries himself, you can’t help but be infuriated at some wasted times. He’s obviously been managing workloads or an injury, but he’s increasingly getting involved in the general training and just looks in control of his area.

Expect to see continuing adherence to a 3/4 ground press. Rance is extremely vocal in this area. One squad has to move the footy from half back. The other has to defend the ground. Rance is constant in telling players when to push up, when to drop back, when to cover the fat side. He’s also heavily involved in instructing the immediate contest, how to protect the space as a forward and how to take it away as a defender.

Tippa. Tip isn’t in great shape, no point sugar coating it. But he’s there and seemed to be constantly on the move. Made one intercept and took off, took a bounce, drilled a “goal”. I’ve no idea if that was meant to be part of the drill, lol. But what DOES seem to be in great shape is the squads cameraderie. Mention was made on Monday of Smith (iirc) running back to Tip to encourage him. Today, it was Stringer. Actually, he went further, accompanying Tip on tedious figure-8 laps of both ovals for the final half hour or so of training. Jake is still Jake , casual brilliance and nonchalance - a one step searing pass into Zerk that looked supremely easy - but also an apparent new-found maturity. I think if Tippa is in a good space mentally, the group will get him back to where he needs to be.

I can best describe the overall feel as quiet determination. We seem measured, calm, aware of where we want to be, and perhaps most crucially aware of how we get there. Adding some things gleaned from various snippets on the club website, it seems a fairly holistic outlook across the entire footy department. There are still bits to add in, players still at least in some measure of rehab / fitness programs. Like last year, I suspect all the pieces in terms of game style and methods don’t get drawn together until later, beyond christmas. All the separate sphere’s are taught and worked on, then they get connected together. That’s when training watchers might be able to give detailed opinions on how we’ll set up and how we’ll try to play. There are a couple of kids that I’m confident can really make a big jump too, just as an aside, though I’ve learnt my overhype lessons from seasons past. Until then, its softly softly. And that’s no bad thing.

I’m still (notionally!) at work, I’ll add more when i can. More photo’s too.

Thanks for reading.


So good

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Will be very interesting how quickly Bryan comes on next year. He’s competing with 2MP and will never be able to kick or convert like Pete can. But his ruck work is already better, and potentially so is his around the ground work.

If (when) Baldwin is AFL ready, then he & Jones can provide the tall forward craft, and Bryan/Draper provide the height resting forward.

2MP is ahead of Bryan today but 2MP needs to keep improving or I think he’ll be overtaken sometime in 2023 or earlier as Bryan’s ruck craft is too good to keep him in VFL.

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Awesome report and thanks once again! Gives me something to do as I hide from the bloody rain up here in QLD.

I’m confident Tippa will get up to speed before the season locks off. I love the bloke and love the way he play, we will see him at his best again.

Would you say Hobbs is physically ready to go? It’s such a big jump for any kid and would prefer to see him with 5 or 6 games in the VFL BUT if he’s mature physically and has the game im sure they will put him in straight up.

Any SSP guys shown up yet? I’ve heard that Tex has received an invite and also turned down Ports invite to train with them for SSP. Meant to start before Christmas apparently.

Well done. Little Sam Durham doesn’t look so little anymore. I thought that was Draper tackling Hobbs in that photo!


You didn’t read the report did you?

No sign of the potential SSP players.


My bad, I just missed that one line haha. Sorry!


Great report. The prose is outstanding with some beautiful diction thrown in for our more intellectual reader! I really hope something is brewing at Tullamarine…you and a few of the other pre season track watchers have noted the energy being quiet and confident with healthy doses of determination, hard work and camaraderie. Thank you very much!


Thank for the report much appreciated.


To be fair, the report was like an earlier Quentin Tarantino movie, I wasn’t sure where it was going at first, but I like where it ended up!


Great report. Also got a vocab lesson is what soubriquet means.
I too thought that was Draper smashing Hobbs and welcoming him to the big leagues.


Outstanding report.
The part about Hobbs and Newton’s law was very amusing!
Glad to see the vibes are good down at Tullamarine


Thanks @saladin. Great report and insights with bonus points for eloquent story telling skills.
Also waiting for the big wet to end up here in Qld so enjoyed it all very much. Looking forward to more excellent happy snaps to come.

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Loved the detail, thank you very much :slight_smile:


Absolutely outstanding report, @saladin. Right up in Nackers/JackieMihocek class. Excellent pics too.


Good report and completely agree on this part below, it even affected our recruiting as I don’t think we would have given 2 first rounders for shiel if parish was playing in his correct position all those years.

‘Parish. Good grief. We’ve all bemoaned his time spent in the forward pocket. We know this. But when you peer through a long lens and see exactly how he hunts the footy, the sense of balance and awareness of what’s around him and an outright air of self belief in the way he carries himself, you can’t help but be infuriated at some wasted times’


One of the many things that Parish has improved in the last couple of years is his goalkicking, both snaps and set shots. He’s no Milne (not yet, anyway), but he doesn’t miss many reasonably gettable shots now.

Can’t say what it is sorry but Francis is not injured. Doing fine and will join training soon. No fears at all


Gallery on the Club’s website.
Stringer just looks awesome.