Training this morning in warm conditions with a blustery wind. The session started around 9:30 and went to about 11:30 which is a little bit shorter than normal.
There were a lot of new faces there today so we spent a bit of time trying to work out who was who. We ended up concluding Ronald Fejo Jr trained with the main group for the whole session. Others including the Davey twins, Alex Hird, Josh Misiti, Tex Wanganeen and possibly Nyawi Moore trained with different groups and then went off to the second oval to work on skills as a group. There may have been one or two others earlier but it was a little difficult to keep track of. Dylan Clarke also completed the whole session.
Fejo got the ball a few times in the match sims and moved well but didn’t really do anything particular to stand out from what I saw. He seems a reasonable size though, I don’t think that will be a great issue. Of course it’s only his first session so there’s plenty of time for him to gather stride and make a claim on a spot.
The modified group today consisted of Jones who seems to be running a lot better and can’t be too far away from joining the main group, Reid and Eyre. There was also an appearance by Hurley for a short while, but Laverde and Cox were on the sidelines but didn’t train again.
Francis and Stringer were back along with McBride and completed the whole session about any problems
Most of us watching commented on the intensity of the session. The amount of talk between the players was very noticeable and the attack at the contest particularly in marking contests often made us cringe with the risk of injury. Wright and Baldwin were two that often hit a pack hard. There were several occasions when they were doing a forward drill where a ball was kicked towards the group where we thought there was going to be a huge collision, but ultimately no damage was done but it was much closer to what you would expect in a normal match.
A few of the players that stood out to me today were Stewart who did a very good job both intercepting and defending. He certainly does provide something different to our other defenders with his size and strength and used it well I’m several occasions today.
McDonough trained for the whole session with the full group, I watched him closely for a while and he certainly has a beautiful kicking action, very simple and smooth. he can kick it long distances seemingly effortlessly. He also took a couple of our nice intercept marks and overall seemed to fit in quite well.
Durham was in everything again and particularly noticed how well he was reading the ball off the pack, on several occasions he got into a great position to affect really good clean clearances.
McGrath was another one who stood out n a few occasions really dodging and weaving well and was particularly noticeable at one stage where he rose above the pack to put in a huge spoil when Wright was attacking a Mark.
Hobbs got a bit of the ball in the match sim without really displaying anything particularly great to my eye but he didn’t make many mistakes either.
The session certainly got a bit willing at times with both Smith and Francis laying a couple of big tackles which I thought was going to be remonstrated against but wasn’t.
There was also quite a humorous part at one stage where Stringer had a shot for goal which went over Smith’s head, he tried to shepherd it through but it landed in the goal square and bounced back, Smith then tried to kick it out of mid air but missed, he then soccered it back to Snelling who put through a really nice snap.
Waterman was another one who stood out with a couple of nice marks and a couple of really handy goals.
Another thing that was pleasing was that even though it was a gusty and at times strong wind the general ball movement and execution of skills seem to be at a higher level than they have been in previous years which is even better considering the increased intensity today.
There were comments though about the lack of leading from the forwards when the ball was moved forward, it was more kicking it to a stationary target and with the players trying to crumb from the pack. This may well of course be more something that we’re trying to work on as a group coming rather than game plan, we will get more of an indication of this as time goes on no doubt.
And in some potentially good news a few of us commented that we thought Tippa may have already lost a little bit of the weight he was carrying, and some of his running around the boundary line doing laps he seemed to be moving at a much better pace, hopefully he can continue to improve in the coming months ahead.