Training Wednesday 24/8/16 - Jumbo Justifies His Presence

Last training session of the season at Tullamarine in cool, sunny conditions.

This is a joint report with Karma Bomber whose photos will appear later.

Let’s go back to the start of the season and reflect a little:

On the 8/2/16 I wrote “The comment I hear most frequently is ‘We’ll win more games than people think.’ Exactly what this means I’m not sure.”

Time for everyone to fess up - how many games did you think we’d win?

I also wrote “Of course the elephant in the room is how many games did we want to win?..Pick one would stick it up the AFL which is tempting.”

It seems to me that Jumbo has come to the party and justified his presence and I am hugging myself with glee at the thought of the upcoming draft and the whinging wrist draggers ringing SEN.

We had an interesting chat with a respected club official this morning ranging over many issues. One question he posed was if McKenna and Walla were in the next draft what round picks would they attract. We thought third round McKenna and Second round for Walla and you might like to give your views.

However the point being made in the case of McKenna was he started as a rookie pick, he has progressed to third round value and if his improvement continues he may go all the way to first round value.

The most interesting discussion revolved around Jake Long who was given a big wrap with the interesting comment that he thinks 25% how can I get the ball and 75% how can I help someone else get it.

Some of the nuances of Jake’s play were pointed out to me as we watched him train. Jake was running with the ball out of the backline and indicated with a precise movement of the hand holding the ball where he wanted the hand pass recipient to run to receive. Shortly after he used his hands again, not his body just his hands, to do a dummy selling fake to avoid a tackle while running with the ball.

I was urged to look at running patterns through the centre of the ground and it was pointed out that Long runs diagonal to the face of the pack which opens up his ability to be a target for a pass. In contrast McKenna, in line with the Irish game, runs in straight lines up the ground thus being a more difficult target to hit. Talking to someone with this level of insight makes us realise how much more we have to learn about the game.

In the case of Will Hams he tends to go into packs too face on making it more difficult to protect himself and avoid going to ground. To take the next step he needs to improve in this area to avoid injury and to be more effective.

The year has given a lot of opportunity for player development and Karma and I advance the following proposition: the two main priorities for next season are Joe Daniher’s goal kicking (unsurprising) and Aaron Francis’s fitness. A hard preseason on the track is vital and a redistribution of some of his weight from his legs to his upper body. In some ways this is a little analogous to Jobe’s situation in his early football years before he did a huge preseason and spectacularly changed both his body shape and fitness.

How did they train? A bit like the last weeks of the school year, lots of fun and not a heavy session apart from Zahka who took a heavy knock playing handball soccer.

One game to go - a great effort by the players and staff this year. Lots of faces will be missing in 2017 - probably 16 to 18 but lots to look forward to.

I though and expected to win at least 4 games.

If we beat Carlton i will be content with 3 wins.

If we lose i will be very angry will only 2 wins to show from the season.

Tippa would easily go 2nd round, if he was a few years younger he might go late first round

I got sucked into the “won’t win a game for the season” mob so I was really just hoping for 1 win at the start of the season. After getting that done in Round 2 I was thinking 3-4 wins.

The EFC website/app indicates an open session Friday. Is this not the case?

Thanks jackie and co for the reports all year, they’re awesome!

Well done Jackie. Your reports have been a real highlight in a very difficult, yet enjoyable year. Enjoy your break!

Interesting observation on Will Hams and his hitting packs front on and leaving himself susceptible to injury.

I remember when Ben Cousins first burst onto the scene in 1996 and having a major impact, that this was picked up in his game by Brad Hardie in the WA media.

He suggested that Cuz needed to learn to hit a pack side on, to better protect himself from getting lined up and split right down the middle, than running front on into packs, which makes a lot of sense.

Ben survived his onfield career quite well after tweaking this small aspect of his game.

The EFC website/app indicates an open session Friday. Is this not the case?
Sorry I didn't mean to mislead you. I don 't regard sessions like the Captain's Run as proper training sessions as they are very short but they do give you an opportunity to see the players. Today was the last major session.

I thought 4 to 6 was achievable. If we could kick straight it may well have been. From a win loss perspective i think 3 is about par. That said if we don’t win on Saturday i will not be disappointed. The progress of numerous young and new players makes this season a success regardless of the w/l ratio.

Interesting observation on long v Conor running patterns. Something very simple for Conor to work on over summer. That combined with his teammates becoming more familiar with his game should lead to him having much more of an impact next year.

Thanks as always Jackie. Can’t wait to hear from you over the long summer ahead.

Thanks jackie for the great report!

I wanted 3-4 wins from the year and earmarked 4 winnable games at the start of the year, Carl (both) and Bris/GC (Home). And thought we were a very, very slight chance against Melb & St K.

To win 2 over the course of the year and we really should have also beaten Carl & St K (i’d throw in Rich as well but the less said about the Bris game the better, probably the only time i was really disappointed all year) it has been a pretty good year. If we can clean up Fark Carlton on the weekend, I will be wrapped heading into the pre-season. With a glimmer of hope for big things next year from the mixture of old hands returning and young kids developed this year.

Thanks Jackie. Love your work.

I thought 3 wins would be a pass mark. Whilst we didn’t achieve that, I’m still very happy with what we’ve achieved for the year. Bring on 2017!

I thought we would win 4-5 if 3 things went our way: 1) good output from the top ups 2) improvement from younger players 3) a good run with injuries. All up, I’m a bit disappointed with the output from some of the top ups (Kelly and Dea massive exceptions of course), improvement from the young’uns is about what I’d hoped for, and we weren’t beset by injuries as in some other years. So dammit! Where are the 4 or 5 games? Beating the farkers on Saturday will make up for how I feel about my rash prediction. I hope you can manage to keep up your magnificent work Jackie et al.

Parish would be in the discussion for No1.with McLuggage has had a great year.
I would have Tippa late second round
McKenna late third/ early fourth round.

Jackie - did you guys discuss Zach Merretts development? If there anything he needs to work on? He seems to have got his game to such a high level so quick.

I thought we would win against Carlton and Brisbane. So I was wrong. We are still a good chance this week for a win IMO.
Was glad we got the first win so early. was expecting win against lions, but then winning against suns was a nice surprise.

I thought four or five - Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast here, one of the Carlton games and, if lucky, maybe pinch another one against one of the mediocre teams taking us too easily.

I didn’t think we’d lose a game like I do every year.

Well Jackie, I reckon if you took 12 major players from any team, then winning any games is very doubtful.

So to win at least two and in a position to win 4 more was a good result.

I cannot remember a season where so many great young players have evolved, and how many others have stood up under extreme adversity.

Your reports have been a highlight as always JM. Brilliant work this year and much appreciated by everyone.

Thanks for the report Jackie. I said at the start of the year we would be lucky to win 2 games. We could’ve easily put another few wins on the board and proved me wrong… Had a very enjoyable year watching the kids come on in leaps and bounds…and very excited to see how this youth mixes with our AA’s, Brownlow medal winners and stars back.

Zero wins for me - more than happy to be proved wrong again. Long, McKenna & Walla will be outstanding with the guys coming back next year and it has been a pleasure watching all of the development through the young players in 2016.