Training - Saturday 11th March 2023

Good evening my fellow Blitzers.

I went down this morning hopeful of a match sim heavy session given it is the weekend between practice matches and round one, and was not disappointed. The two and a half hours I was there bore witness to a combination of full ground scenario play and out and out match sim, in conditions unbecoming of a winter sport. Suffice to say, the only excuses for poor skills were the km’s covered and the defensive pressure applied.

I will say - given the perfect conditions - we looked much better than the two heavily wind affected preseason games of the last fortnight. Now that is also probably because we couldn’t have looked much worse and we were also playing against ourselves. But I do digress …

It is at this point that I should also mention that my attention was not always 100% on the session. I had dragged along three of my young fellas and was always halfway between a game of kick to kick, answering life’s big questions and trying to see what was happening on the oval. Is that halfway between or a third way through? It’s a bit like playing six quarters I guess. Anyway, a fun day was had by all, but my recollections may need jolting so feel free to ask away …

For those of you still hoping to find some semblance of a training report, here goes:

The scenario play I mentioned was basically just match sim, but starting from a specific scenario (ie. free kick on the wing, turnover at half back). Once the game progressed to a scoring opportunity, instead of resetting at the centre bounce, the coaches would yell a scenario and the players had to race to set up and then play from there. I suspect that with quite a few held over for the VFL practice match, it allowed them to control the space / side of ground being utilised. It also forced players to work hard to get to new spots and set ups, ensuring they know how to respond to scenarios in season.

The match sim later on (that was more pure but still not totally game play) was performed on 3/4 of the ground. Again, I suspect this was more about numbers. In this section of training, there was again no ruck contest but the coaches were not announcing a scenario specifically. They were just giving a player the ball and having the teams respond instinctively to the unfolding play.

Largely, I felt it was a high intensity session with good skills for the most part. The game-breakers were afforded the opportunity to show their wares, while the aerial contests were proper game like. There were several lovely passages of play that worked the ball out of congestion to a player with a more penetrating kick. They would take - generally speaking - very aggressive options deep inside 50. Perkins and Munkara both took some very aggressive options and were rewarded with team mates marking running into space or out the back. For those of you interested in young Munkara, stick around. I’ve some excitement to generate shortly.

This would have been the fourth or fifth time I’ve come down over summer, and today was by far the best we have trained (to my eye). Not just the quality, but the duration of the quality. There has always been exciting elements, but today we maintained the rage for much longer without the inconsistency of performance and application I have seen previously.

The modified group on the second oval (for much of the session) was Stringer, Reid, J.Davey and Hobbs. Having said that, these boys were all running pretty hard and doing quite a bit of kick mark work. Reid’s kicking is a thing of beauty - a fluid action that sends the ball 35-40m without it going above his head height and his partner not having to take a step.

The regulars who are your AFL quality players looked their usual selves. Merrett, Shiel, Martin and McGrath all played their positions effectively with the assuredness you would expect of them. Martin in particular has realised he belongs very quickly (no doubt due to the quality he displayed last year, but also possibly because he is a little older and wiser than the average second year player). Setterfield I like, and he was quite prominent today. He’s not explosive or pack busting, but he’s big and strong enough to ride pressure and distribute while also having the wherewithal to spread and become a taller outlet option. Wright looked much better in the still conditions and really launched at the ball. Took some nice marks and kicked like he normally does. Tex Wanganeen is working himself back to capable fitness. What he does at ground level is quite lovely - he has beautiful touch and soft / sticky hands that really give him a great head start on life as a footballer. If he can get fit enough to get to more contests, he could be a very handy player. At the end he was doing a specific running program (all the players had different types of running to do in small groups of players with like needs) and he was trying hard to keep up with his peers. Certainly looks to be putting in (fingers crossed his feet hold up). Walla is also looking infinitely better - his running is looking much closer to AFL level and his work with ball in hand is exquisite. Oh and Lewis Hayes is a beauty. Physically, he is miles off it. But his positioning, read of play and football skills are all really nice. And he’s brave in the air. I’m very bullish on him and Reid as a pairing long term.

Now to some names that really looked lively in an exciting fashion …

Perkins was a real conduit going forward. While he seemingly has the attributes to be a bull inside the contest, his best play currently is the receiver that then drives us forward. This could be as the second receiver out of stoppage or as a winger/half forward that gets it outside the contest and moves us forwards. Several times today he got the ball 60-90 from goal and made things happen. A subtle direction change or aggressive long kick with punch. I don’t know if he’ll ever be an accumulator (it’s obviously a knock at the moment), but he’s already high impact when he does get it.

Alwyn Jnr is something special. Now I know Cyril played for an enemy, but I loved him as a player. And with the 33 on Alwyn’s back, it’s hard not to see some Cyrilesque shades. The crouched approach to ground balls. The ability to power out of congestion. The change of direction that leaves five other players going the wrong way. The lovely soft kicking inside 50. The pure speed once he winds up. He’s classy as anything and he was much more prominent today. There were flashes in previous sessions. Today he was a key component.

And then we have everyone’s curiosity - Anthony Munkara. Well well well. We’ve all heard about the talent. We’ve all seen the highlights packages on YouTube. And we’ve been told he’s a slow burn, unlikely to feature much at VFL level this year let alone the AFL. That he’s a long term project.

What I will say is that if he makes a career out of AFL - that is to say he rides the waves of his initial seasons, builds fitness and gameplan understanding, shows professional standards and all that comes with being a professional athlete - we will witness something special.

He did some things today that make you sit up and ask yourself “how?”. He is untackleable. I know that’s not a word, but you know what I am trying to say. He’s got more steps in a phone box than the laws of physics allow, and people fall over all around him. He moves faster in reverse that the approaching tackler does towards him. He moves left when every angle of his body says he’s going right. He flicks handballs without giving any indication as to what he’s doing and he kicks fluidly off either foot.

He’s also got that amazing trait where he jumps early, and you think, “ah, he’s misread that”. But then he doesn’t come down. He just floats there longer than gravity had bargained for and contests the ball. Twice today he ran back with the flight and managed to spoil an ‘out the back’ forward when he had no right to. And on both occasions, he was the first to recover and win the ground ball, turning defence into attack. He made some skill errors today, but these were very clearly due to fatigue as they were just a bit sloppy and without the zest of earlier in the session. He was certainly involved in transition running (often trailing his man but really digging in to try and keep up) and provided some really nice inside 50 ball use. One deep kick that found a target over the back impressed simply by how quickly it got there.

If we get to see him play VFL later in the year and be managed to minimise the risk of injuries, we’re going to get some glimpses of what - fingers crossed - might come to be.

Anyway, there ends my stream of consciousness attempt at starting a training report thread. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to dig into the far recesses of my mind to pluck the information you are after.

Peace and love and bring on round one. We’re either going to be better than we think or we’re going to get Harley Reid.


Great report, it’s very positive, were there any negatives?

Thanks for that report. Gives hope for a better start to 2023 than last year. Well done mate.


Great report @One_Tough_Bombre especially while having to look after 3 kids.



Hard to be negative when it was such a lovely day!

I suppose you don’t get a feel for what it’ll be like against other sides when you watch training. So unless they train really badly, it’s always going to look positive in isolation.

The fact that players like Davey and Munkara can make more experienced players look silly doesn’t bode well for our defending. And there wasn’t anyone who mercilessly bashed and brutalised their way through stoppages. So there’s things that will be problematic come the season proper.


I really enjoyed that - especially the telephone box analogy.


There’s a fourth one that’s younger again but I had to have one eye on the footy so he didn’t make the trip in! Haha


You’re not trying hard enough then.
This is Blitz!
We have standards!


Great post OTB, thanks!

1 Like

Great post.

Just some quick thoughts i had:

Probably my favourite session of the pre-season from Perkins. His body language was one that almost looked like he was upset with the Saints game and his performance. He put in a tower of physical hard work and ran so hard today. Found the footy constantly and just took the game on nearly on every possession. Thats the Archie i want to see. I hope he can translate that approach in round 1.

Davey again was very good and he along with Menzie caused some havoc. Both have a great ability to win the footy through the wing or middle if need be and use the ball well. Walla did enough to be likely in for round 1.

Merrett was close to best which you almost expect but he was just so good.

It was a pretty tough long session that was consistent intense match sim drills. All looking at different scenarios. Boys today were focused and intense. They have to bring this round 1. No excuses.


Thanks @CJohns - inspired by the likes of yourself!

Agree with all your thoughts. And loving your pod by the way - great content and discussion each episode.


Appreciate the report. Got to be weary of being too positive. Sounded almost like a membership drive.


That was a highly enjoyable read.

Thank you.


Awesome training report. But I have to ask, what were some of life’s big questions that you were answering?


For the love of god let this translate to being less ■■■■ on match day.


Well, they were a varied assortment of odds and ends, ranging from ‘why the portable toilets needed a foot pump to flush’ all the way to ‘why the hanger is brown/red and grey rather than Bombers colours’.


Good questions tbh. The second one I would like the answer to as well to be honest


Thanks for the report.
love hearing about Munkara.
hope he plays plenty of VFL, AFL

I would like to see Perkins spend more time on the wing. Agree that he uses it well in space and kickingto the forwards. It might help him accumulate more of the ball as well.


Where I’m unsure is if it’s wing or half forward that will maximise what he can do.

The wing can be a bit of a graveyard - very specific role that doesn’t always lend itself to rewarded running or high possession numbers.

I’d almost like him to be our mid sized key forward. Not a key like Wright (he keeps the ‘key forward’ role), but similar to the way Richmond use Dusty as a forward. He’s so good 1v1 (1v2 even) that I’d like him to be a game breaker in the front half. In that role, the more we target him, the more ball he’d get.

Really look to find him coming up from half forward and have him turn and go from there.


I love the sound of positivity in the evening.