Is Valentines’ Day apostrophe s, s apostrophe or no apostrophe at all? I need Noonan’s help.
I pondered this as a I sat on the grassy knoll at the McCracken Oval - a hot sun at my back and a north wind catching balls kicked too high and taking them beyond the goal net in the direction of Longy’s statue. Longy said nothing and stared resolutely towards the car park.
A grub, I suspect from Big Footy, snaffled an errant ball and hid it in the bushes with an eye to its theft when training concluded, but our boon companion Norm was onto it and we retrieved the ball as the players left the oval to watch the Super Bowl.
In between these events I turned my attention to training and tried to gauge the atmosphere. Willy Wagtail cocked his head to one side and waited.
Be of good cheer - it’s running like a well oiled machine at the moment.
For starters the smallest injury list I’ve seen at this time of the year for ages. Walla is missing obviously and Stringer is dealing with a groin injury that we are told is not serious. Reid is not doing much but we’re told that we want to get him right for the long term, fair enough. Hurley is running laps at reasonable pace, but will be tested when the physicality begins.
Harrison Jones, cap on backwards and sporting his wry grin joined in the majority of the drills today and looks to be well and truly on the road back.
Waterman is the mystery runner - remember the double shooting at the Cross Keys when the perp known as the “Runner” fled on foot, according to my knowledge to the house of a well known crim now deceased? What is the Waterman mystery you ask? Well, at every session he does little else than run laps rather than joining in match play. Injured? Doesn’t seem to be. Looking trim - absolutely.
But why? Some have suggested to give him the tank to play midfield. Big Ben Rutten appears inscrutable on the matter, but it appears to me there is a master plan. It’s five minutes to midnight so I guess we’ll know soon.
Heppell appears comfortable in his captaincy with a leadership team solid around him and he has had his most complete pre-season for years. Can he lead us on Paths of Glory? Hmn - looks promising.
Who will kick the goals one scribe closely linked to Essendon was asking last week - well Peter Wright is holding his marks one-grab and dobbing them from outside fifty with a fluent action. On current form I would prefer him to Joe Daniher, but even if he wasn’t going so well, I would still prefer him to Joe who is rotting in the tropics.
Not mentioned, under the radar, is the little general of the forward line, Will Snelling - its potential leader perhaps. There was surprise that he did so well in the Crichton, but close observation shows that he has nailed the game-plan and is directing those around him. All hail to the little general.
The players were running laps as a group and Willy Wagtail looked at me with his beady eye and I knew what he was thinking - the chatter amongst the group was full-on, happy and the bonding was obvious.
So far, so good - I think we have a team, perhaps even an Ateam, on our hands. The practice matches will tell us more.