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SEN BREAKFAST INTERVIEW WITH NEALE DANIHER

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On Friday, the Morning Glory boys Ian, Billy and Tim interviewed Melbourne coach Neal Daniher. Billy Brownless introduced the Demon coach noting that this was his tenth year at the helm and pointing out that it's going to be a big year.

Neale Daniher: Big year. They're all big Billy!

Billy: I haven't heard you lately. A couple of years ago you were the Reverend. You were on your soapbox. Spruiking Melbourne. This and that. You've quietened down the last couple.

Neale: Bad news sells Billy. That's why we've been very quiet because we’re just going along beautifully at the moment. You just tune in to the Blues and whoever else is in trouble. We're just going along nicely.

Tim: How beautifully are you going Neale?

Neale: As beautifully as you can go at this stage Tim. What you've got to be concerned about this time of the year is not having any injuries. We listen to a Nick Riewoldt do a hamstring and I guess over the next few weeks you’ve got your heart in your mouth. You start to do play some practice games, intraclub and you just have your fingers crossed that none of your stars or anyone gets injured over the next three or four weeks.

Tim: Neale, we keep reading that everybody's training harder than they ever did before because they want to keep pace with the Adelaide Crows. Is this the new trend in the AFL is it?

Neale: I wouldn't have thought so Tim. Some clubs I think may have re-adjusted from a power based programme. It does go in trends. The Brisbane Lions won three in a row and you recall the size of them and the power they had and the big bodies. Maybe clubs have toggled. I think the Kangaroos have adjusted and St. Kilda has adjusted. We haven't adjusted. But that's where that's come from Tim - when the Brisbane Lions got into four grand finals everyone may have thought that the speed/power was the way to go but it's still an endurance sport.

Tim: What's been your concentration then, the key thing that you identify that you needed to improve with your group over the summer?

Neale: Just our young players Tim. We think we've got some real exciting players like Bartram - he's only a year in. We've got a mini veteran like Brock McLean who’s only 20. We think that Bartam, Bate, Bell and Dunn, Jones who came into the side late last year with five games, McLean, Moloney, Sylvia - those sort of blokes - we think they're really going to improve us in the next year. That's been our focus.

We're sort of fine-tuning our game. We've got to get better on the long grounds. We felt we weren't as competitive as we would have liked to be at Subi and AAMI. We'd like to adjust our game to run and carry a little bit more but most of our focus is on these younger players who have got a lot of improvement in them.

Tim: So do you think you've been picking the wrong sides, that you've been taking the wrong personnel over to those big grounds or is just the game plan?

Neale: I think two things. We've been very, very successful at the MCG where we've won 11 out of 12 or 12 out of 13 and then it's a combination of both personnel and game plan. Everyone in the inner sanctum of the AFL knows that we're predominantly a kicking team rather than a handball team and we've been working on having a number of game plans that we can turn to depending on what sort of ground we're on.

Ian: You spoke about Brock McLean. Two questions. Is he a future captain and what's happening with the captaincy at the Dees?

Neale: The answer is that Brock is definitely a future captain at some stage. We've got a five man leadership group which the players have had the major input into and the captain will come from that group which is David Neitz, Cameron Bruce, Brock McLean, Brad Green and James McDonald and that will be announced prior to the Nab pre Cup competition.

Ian: I mean normally if you're going to stick to the incumbent you just let it roll on but with those sort of noises you're making is there a chance that there is a change in the guard at the Dees?

Neale: Not bad Ian. Not bad, you're trying to get the announcement through this morning?

Ian: I am yes.

Neale: Good effort. I'll give you a B+ for that one. Well done.

Ian: Well, that's better than I ever got at school.

Billy: Neale, are you spying on any or all of the other clubs?

Neale: No. We've got one of our guys just starting to have a look Billy but we haven't been focussing to much on what the other clubs have been doing. We're just focussing on what we’re doing and how we're going to get better.

Tim: And are you going all out for the pre season competition Neale? How do you approach that?

Neale: Our major priority is to have everyone up and going for the round one game, Tim. We'll go into the Nab Cup to win it but we also want to be able to have a look at a number of young players and give them opportunities. You know, Lynden Dunn and these sorts of boys need some game time. Mark Jamar finished the year injured, Paul Johnson is a ruckman we want to have a look at so it’s always a mixture Tim. We want to see which young players are ready to take the step up and help us in the home and away series.

Ian: Question off the SMS. Brad Miller. How's he travelling at the moment

Neale: Brad is travelling well. He had osteitis pubis this time last year and wasn't training because of it and we had a number of boys who had that complaint. Brent Moloney missed most of the year with it. Brad Miller's 100% and is training really well. Brent Moloney's progressing really well and he'll play in round 1 and will play during the Nab Cup.

Tim: Just before we let you go we know you always head home to Ungarie for the Christmas game with the boys in the back yard for cricket. How did that go this summer?

Neale: Not too bad Tim. We had the Danihers versus the town and very controversially the town got up this year. We've got some suspicion that the town supplied the scorers with more beer than what we did but we'll re-group and there is some word that Terry Daniher will be dropped for next year's game for poor performance but we’ll have a look at that and we'll make a big comeback next year.

Ian: We appreciate your time. One last chance. No news on the man who's going to toss the coin?

Neale: We'll make an announcement before the Nab Cup.

Ian: Good luck on the Nab Cup and for season 2007.

[Thanks to Alpha33 for transcribing the interview]

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Thank you for an excellent write up of the interview. At last I am starting to get excited about the season.

It is unusual the way they are avoiding the captaincy announcement. Do they always wait this long ?

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Thanks for that write up- 2007 season is nearly upon us

It is unusual the way they are avoiding the captaincy announcement. Do they always wait this long ?

I guess they do this to keep us guessing until the season starts

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It is unusual the way they are avoiding the captaincy announcement. Do they always wait this long ?

From memory they always leave it this late to officially announce it, but it's been a while since there was speculation that Neitz might not go again.

It's obviously being left up to him, because I'm sure the club wants him to captain for at least another year.

Given that Neale has ruled McLean out for 2007, I really truely hope the club is just holding out on us for no big reason. I can't see anyone doing a better job than Neita in the short term. Besides, he deserves every opportunity to captain us to a flag.

If a change really is about to happen, then the 2 candidates are pretty obvious.... Bruce and Green.

Problem is, one isn't a good enough leader, the other isn't a good enough player.

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There's nothing more certain than Neita being captain this season. As for 2008, we'll see.

Spot on Bob.

The last thing we need at this stage in our team's development is one of our better players/leaders being burdened with all that extra pressure.

Why rock the boat now?

BTW isn't the captaincy something they announce at the family day?

Go Dees

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Spot on Bob.

The last thing we need at this stage in our team's development is one of our better players/leaders being burdened with all that extra pressure.

Why rock the boat now?

BTW isn't the captaincy something they announce at the family day?

Go Dees

Neitz is certain to be skipper this year but there's a lot of high praise for young Brock there. Hopefully, he will continue to go from strength to strength and take his mate Colin up with him.

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