Training at Tullamarine in showery, cool conditions.
A moderately light skills session aimed at improving field and goal kicking.
As a new initiative (at least two my eyes) three shilouette man on the mark dummies were set up and players tried to hit them with a kick from about twenty metres straight in front. I didn’t take stats but the strike rate was about one in five with many near misses that would be good enough as a pass in a game. A common fault was kicking the ball too high over the dummy’s head and I lamented the loss of the stab kick of the 40’s and 50’s which would have been interesting to see. Would putting Caroline Wilson’s face on the dummies have produced more hits? Maybe.
A second drill involved a group of players passing the ball around within a confined space kicking only with no handballs. This drill was noisy and well received by the players as was a third drill which went as follows: players formed three lines the length of the ground designated with white, blue or orange colours. The object was to race the ball up and back with a short kick to a player who hand balled to the player next to him the kick and handball pattern being relayed up and down the line.
It is good to see an emphasis being placed on passing skills which I think we would all agree needs to be improved to reduce turnovers.
joe Daniher goal kicking practice.
You will be pleased to learn that Joe is putting in a big effort to improve this area of his game. He took at least forty shots at goal and the end of training continuing on in the rain after the other players had left the field. Nobody was there watching his technique and coaching him which to my mind is a failure of the club’s training set up. The club could do a lot worse than make Terry Daniher an assistant forward coach or indeed the forward coach per se. Joe practised from straight in front fifty out and moved across to the pocket and also took some shots from closer in. I measured his success ratio at 50 per cent which is obviously a problem in a non pressure training situation. It seemed to me that he achieved the best results when he got well over the ball when kicking a kept his ball drop hand steady without moving it across his body at the last moment. Treat my observations as inexpert. Pat on the back to Joe for effort and he will improve.
I attended the coach’s press conference today and as always I was impressed with his calmness, openness and professionalism. Bomber’s conferences were more entertaining but having this man as our coach is one of the most positive things that has happened to this club. When asked about Hurley’s intentions he said “I’m really confident he will be playing for Essendon.” Now of course you can argue what do you expect him to say but I would argue he could have been much less definitive in his answer if he wanted and my observation is that he is extremely open with the press and the supporters and is a straight shooter. I’m going to take his answer as a real positive.
The coach pointed to a unique list management situation this year and answered the question about Cooney this way: “Does he believe he is physically and mentally capable of playing another year?” Make of this what you will but it sounds a little bit as though he is leaving the decision up to Cooney as the basis for contract discussions.
It’s been a tough year but take heart that we have some great young players and a steady hand at the helm.