I’ve been expecting Nackers to write a report which is perhaps a bit presumptuous of me. We shouldn’t take Nackers reports for granted.
I will write briefly and hope he gives us a full report later.
Training in cool conditions with a wind across the ground.
The main features of the session were:
About 40% of the players were in a modified group at various stages which is somewhat concerning, however a possible explanation is being tendered:
It is suggested that the fitness/medical staff are taking a different approach this year (heavens knows it’s needed). Workloads and training are being much more “managed”.
e.g. Jake Stringer has a leg problem, but he is being managed in a different way with moderate running for a long period of time and possibly strengthening work being carried out away from the track to moderate the soreness.
or again Draper - missing for some training sessions, but then brought in to play against Carlton.
I can’t say definitively that this is the case, but it is what is being suggested to me and it makes sense that we do things differently to the past.
Last time I posted it was to say how impressed I was with Harrison Jones’ one grab marking. Today it is my melancholy duty to tell you that he sustained a leg injury with what appeared to be an innocuous kick of the football. He trotted off slowly and spent a considerable time being examined before disappearing into the Hangar. Hopefully it is not serious but I can’t really say.
These were my two main takes from today’s session. Hopefully Nackers will give a full report when he has time.
40% modified group…was it split along the lines of those who played more minutes on Thursday, or perhaps those expected to play more minutes on Saturday? Seems like just managing a group coming out of their first real hit out.
Training this morning in cool conditions with a moderate breeze.
The session started around 10am and went for just under 2 1/2 hours.
Before I get into the modified group I think it’s worth mentioning what I was told second hand by someone apparently in the know about how they are treating injuries and other concerns this pre season, that being they are not only treating the injury itself but also working on strengthening the affected area to try and reduce the chance of a reoccurrence. This will inevitably lead to a larger modified group who are on restricted duties for a longer period of time, but hopefully also lead to a fitter group throughout the season.
I thought it best to mention that first as there was a very large modified group today after Thursday’s hitout. It consisted of:
They all come out and did some minor warmup / handballing before all going inside, with various players coming back out. Of these Gleeson, Laverde and Snelling came out later to join in match sim drills. Shiel was looking quite proppy, McBride still sported a moonboot on his left foot, and Zerk, Hooker, Hird and Stringer came back out to do some running. Stringer in particular was running very solidly, much improved from Saturday apparently and again didn’t look too far off.
Hurley was also on the sidelines, and he unfortunately looks in a very bad way. He was struggling to walk even with the aid of crutches, and has lost considerable weight and is looking quite gaunt.
At this stage I would think a return to football isn’t even in their thoughts, it’s just a matter of looking after his overall health.
The bad news from today’s session was that Jones pulled up after a kick at goal and went to the bench where the fitness staff assessed him around his right knee. I’m not sure it was actually his knee or just around that area, and while it didn’t appear overly serious he would have to be doubtful for Saturday’s practice match.
Also just near the end of the session Caldwell went off and had his left ankle looked at. This looked more minor and hopefully is just precautionary.
Other than that some of the players that were recently modified completed the whole session, including ■■■, McGrath, Perkins and Johnson.
Nearly all of today’s session revolved around kicking skills, ball movement and zoning. In one drill various attacking players were literally just standing still on a cone, and when the ball was kicked to them the whole defensive group had to move as one to adjust to the new position. Rather interesting to watch in an odd kind of way.
Generally I thought the skills were fairly good, although it was mixed up on occasions with a few missed targets in a row, sometimes under intense pressure, sometimes not.
I was watching Brand for a while today and he certainly also has some decent skills. At one stage he hit three perfect extremely difficult passes in a row where he had to not only get the length and direction right but also had to land it in between a group of defenders. He’s also quite a tough player and is not afraid to give out a big hit, and can take very solid mark. If he can get his tank up to standard it could make for an amazing draft.
Cox is a very interesting player to watch. He again showed great athleticism, running from deep back to deep forward, and took a beautiful mark cutting across the side of the pack similar to the one highlighted a few weeks ago. He also had some perfect passes intermixed with some bad misses. I’m sure he has the talent to cut out these mistakes, and when he does we will have a very unique player on our hands and a real handful to match up on.
And in a belated answer to a question posed after the practice match:
The ball movement out of defense I thought was generally fairly good, and similar in style and execution to what they have been practicing.
Carlton did manage however to create a loose man and link up more often than we would have liked, and I think this is partly what they were trying to remedy today with their positioning
drill. It’s a completely different situation playing against another team where you have to adjust to what they are trying to do, and particularly with such a young and inexperienced team it will be a work in progress.
Of the individual new players, it seemed almost to a man how they have been practicing -
Cox ran hard both ways to make position, generally hit targets but also had a shank
Hind created a lot of run out of the backline and used the ball well, I was not at all surprised by his game, it’s exactly what he has been showing on the track.
2MP popped up for couple of goals but was often out of position when the ball was coming in, again that mirrors most of his pre season. If he can somehow overcome his deficiencies though he could be very handy.
Jones took some nice marks and kicked straight, again what he has been showing throughout.
Caldwell did everything to suggest he will be a good player, no surprise there.
Perkins showed flashes but wasn’t too involved, not surprising with his limited game and training time over the last year.
Guelfi’s form was a bit unexpected, but he has had a very restricted pre season so there wasn’t much to go on.
It was good to see a return to form of Smith, he hasn’t stood out in training, he may be pacing himself more to withstand the season.
Bryan showed some of the promise he has displayed, particularly in the last month or so.
Heppell was a bit disappointing, but I’m confident he will be a steadying influence if kept at half back.
Both Draper and Langford while both being serviceable I would expect will give even better input throughout the season.
It’s hard to judge most of the backline players though as it was their first chance to work against a different opposition, it will take a little while for them to properly gell.