Training today in cold conditions, but at least it didn’t rain although it looked like it would at various stages.
Players trained in 4 groups of up to 8 players with one group on each oval at a time. The first 2 groups started around 9.30 until 11.00 and were then replaced by the next 2 groups from around 11.00 until 12.30.
There was also a modified group of Heppell, Bryan, Jones and Gown who were out on the second oval doing mainly running along with some ball work in a different part of the ground. Jones Didn’t last too long though and spent most of the session on an exercise bike.
Daniher, Saad and Johnson didn’t appear. Everyone else trained except for the Irishmen.
Heppell looked good. He was moving very freely showing no signs of his foot concerns when either running, kicking or in lateral movement. He did a series of sprints at one stage at near full pace, I would think it’s just a matter of building up his base fitness to become available. As suggested in the club reports it will be touch and go whether he makes it for round 2.
Gown also looks to be progressing well but is not quite up to Heppell’s level yet. I’m not sure what the problem with Bryan has been but he seemed to be moving freely.
The main groups were restricted to various drills mainly involving kicking to leads along with quite a bit of conditioning work. As there was no contested work at all it was very hard to get to a high intensity but overall I thought the standard wasn’t too bad after a long layoff.
One of the drills looked a bit strange which is featured in the photos on the club site. The player would receive a groundball then do a forward somersault on their back before getting up and jumping through a fixed mannequin and then delivering a pass. I’m not sure what the purpose was, maybe acclimatising players to a range of movements.
Of some individual players:
- Tom Hird looks to have beefed up a bit more and is no longer looking like the twig he was when he first came to the club last year. He was also very comfortable in some of the runs and looks to have a good fitness base and endurance.
- Crauford surprised me quite a lot as well. He is extremely agile for the tallest player on our list and was very sure with his ball handling both in the air and on the ground. He has a fairly good kicking technique, I just think he needs a lot of practice. He could well be a surprise packet in the next year or two.
- Draper at one stage was treating the football like a soccer ball and kicking it up in the air not letting it bounce. At one stage I saw him do over 30 touches without the ball touching the ground. Very impressive skills for a big man. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do it for so long, even Conor McKenna who has amazing skills with his feet.
- Stewart’s set shots for goal were excellent kicking into a tricky wind. He has almost eliminated the annoying stutter in his runup and has a much smoother and deliberate style as a result. He’s also a seriously big unit now. It will be very interesting to see how he fits into the side.
Overall not much to report though. Next week when we move back to full contact training I expect the intensity to ramp up to another level.