Training in mild conditions at Tullamarine.
The day started with Bomber's press conference and he deflected questions about Hird with grace and humour.
"Is it the best thing from your perspective for the football club that he's coming back?" Bomber answered to the effect that he would be back without directly commenting on whether he thought it was the best thing so you get the idea of his skill in dealing with the media. His attitude to the Hawthorn game was cautiously optimistic and he indicated that Winderlich, who did full training today, would be available for selection.
Training took place on the McCracken Oval while Bellchambers jogged at half pace and did thirty metre kicks on the Clarke Oval. He was alone today as Dalgleish joined in full training.
It is important to try and convey to you the atmosphere at training today - I thought it was serious, upbeat and full of determination so expect them to have a real crack against Hawthorn.
The main session was very technical in nature as they paid scrupulous attention to implementing the game plan and its ball movement. I won't give away the nuances of what they were trying to achieve but basically they were looking for
- play on and quick ball movement at all times.
- this was to be accomplished by making decisions on the turn and with great emphasis on the players who didn't have the ball loudly and clearly instructing their teamates what to do.
- emphasis was placed on bringing the ball back into the corridor rather than running it the length of the ground around the boundary then delivering well into the forward line. One of the coaches emphasized that one on one or two players deep were good times to kick to a contest.
At one stage when a player had the ball in the middle of the ground many of the players rushed back towards the goals but Bomber stopped and berated them telling them that they should come up and take time away from the player with the ball by pressuring him rather than conceding the kick.
I was pleased to hear at one stage "F...ing get at him don't corral him!" which has been a weakness of our defensive play in the past.
Players were encouraged to spread e.g. Budda was told to get away from Chappy and the players were told to play on and be confident that people will be in the right spot.
When the ball is being kicked in "f...ing find your man and stop watching the ball."
Great emphasis is being placed on not being static at stoppages with Zaka being the go to man as often as not and overlap being encouraged.
Thurlow kicked a long bomb goal and Bomber was beside himself with excitement "Go Bombers!!!" he screamed at them and he was pleased to see another long goal from Joe shortly afterwards.
I hope this conveys the atmosphere - expect a good performance on Friday night.
(Saturday's VFL practice match against Richmond at Tullamarine starts at 11 am on Saturday.)