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TRAINING: Monday 4th December 2023


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A number of Demonland Trackwatchers braved the heat to venture down to Gosch's Paddock as the entire list returned to the training track for the annual time trials. Here are some observations from KEV MARTIN, CLANIKO, WALKING CIVIL WAR, WAYNE WUSSELL, DEEZ MAN & OLD 55.

KEV MARTIN’s PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Summer training, time trials and all back into it. 45 players in the squad, including a strong looking Noah Yze (did not time trial). 

I think the only one missing was Chandler.

Great to see Angus out there in the yellow cap. He participated in the non-contact program. Even the small bumps and body contact drills were avoided. He looked very sharp, 100% efficiency I reckon. 

Oliver has started on a full rehab program now. Running, kicking, gym work. He was not time trialled. Occasionally appeared a little frustrated with the running, but kept the head down, and did what was asked. 

Fritsch must be very close to full training. Some kicking drills really worked him over. Had a spill and clumsily hit the ground as he fumbled. He did not look like making any errors after that, doing the rest of his work with style. Has passion and commitment. Looking stronger and heavier through his hips. 

Petty did a little kicking, no running, plenty of gym. Was vocal when hanging around the structured sims. Helping out Jefferson, giving some pointers about body and arm work in the lead up to a contest.

Melky on a similar program to Petty. Both in blue tops, while the rest had training jersey's on. 

Kossie did the time trial, but I think not up to standard, as he was placed on a running program alongside Fritsch doing 5 km and no participation in the simulations. Wasn't particularly happy by the end of it. Though, like Olivercompleted it.

At the end of training, Kossie and McAdam were walking together, and Goody places his arms around both and gives them the emotional, caring support.

Maisie appears to be working hard as a leader. When he wasn't running, he was on the boundary, offering encouragement. He was very vocal about the skills he liked about McAdams. 

McAdams struggled a bit with the time trial, but excelled in the sims. Has the ability to find the footy on a lead and gets front and centre of the pack and is a ball magnet. 

Fullarton and Max were matched during the structured sims, and Farris-Whitewas up against Verral. All four are doing well. Max appears unhindered, Farris-White getting more involved, Verral works well, especially below his knees. I think Fullerton (good agility and run) will be Max's back-up at this stage.

Sparrow has the rig, and a few made him aware of it at the start of the time trial. He was in the fast pack, with Tomlinson, ANB, Langdon, McVee, Taj, maybe another one, but cannot recall, and could be wrong about the group. 

Spargo and Bowey were the hardest working players during the structured sims. After the action on the field, they got them sprinting 25 m around the boundary as another group entered. 

The simulations can be a full oval, with players having more choice of style and ball movement, or a set play kind of a structured sim. Today's structured sims, appeared to be about movement from the backline, and then a sim of getting the forwards well set when creating 50 re-entries. Emphasis was in making two fwds hold back and the other fwds pushing out. 

They finished with timed runs down the centre of the paddock. They had to do extra, as a few didn't get under the time, this disappointed a few, but the word got around to make sure you take your mates with you. The four new young one's did not do these run troughs.

Viney looks to have put on more muscle.

Thought Hunter was looking a bit slower.

Tomlinson was looking big and strong.

Howes, AdamsTurner,  and Billing all going about it professionally.

Windsor and K. Brown competed well in the sims. 

Sestan has great hands.

Salem was flying under the radar, only noticed him when they first entered the field.

There was an aerial clash of four players at one stage, with the coaches voice of that's what we expect. No-one was hurt.

Last on the track were some smalls working on ground ball gets, Viney, Laurie, and two others, with Tracc and Kolt kicking goals. Tracc was very accurate, I think it helps his kicking, with someone else following him and having him as a mentor. 

It was a long session.

CLANIKO's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS:

• Regarding Angus Brayshaw's return to training and whether he was training with the main group or on a modified program - Doing his time trial currently, appears to be with the main group.

• Looks like it, they're doing their time trials in groups so it's a bit hard to tell who's in the rehab group and who's just not doing theirs currently.

Oliver, Fritsch, Salem and a kid in #46 I don't recognise look like they're doing the rehab program.

Tommo and Nibbler are miles ahead of their group and almost racing each other with Tommo just pulling ahead

• Time trials done. All going over to get a much needed drink.

• They picked a rough day to do time trials, might only be 10am but in the sun it's bloody hot

• Oliver kicking to Fritta on a lead, both clearly doing a modified program to main group.

Salem wandered off somewhere also not with the main group

• Tyla Hanks is here. Not sure if she's helping out with the session or just watching.

• Split into two groups doing a drill working the ball up the wing to a leading target with some defenders.

• Leading targets started B. Brown, Jefferson, JvR and Sestan.

• Now SchacheMcAdamBrown and someone wearing #14 I don't recognise.   

• Pretty sure I just saw Billings in #33 getting called JB so maybe him and Fullarton have swapped jumpers.

Kosi and Fritta doing some running separate to the group.

• Currently doing ground ball gets or marks with tackling pressure.

• Notable absences - Kosi and Fritta doing some running together. Oliver doing some running. And Gus doing a separate drill with a trainer in the dreaded fluro cap

• Forwards vs defenders now

• Defenders start with the ball then work it out to miss who turn over then practice a forward entry

• Defenders: May, TMac, Judd, Bowey and Disco? (I can't tell) ,

• Forwards: McAdam, JvRLaurie, Sestan and Brown

• Similar thing happening on the other side of the ground but I'm too far to see any detail

• Cannot believe I'm saying this but Ben Brown looked really good. Took a strong contested mark and another on a lead

• Choco came over for a chat

• He seemed very impressed with McAdam, pencil him in for a round 1 (or opening round 🙄) appearance.

Kosi on a different program because he just got back from SA and they don't want to overdo him.

• When I asked about TMac training with the backs he suggested I was an opposition scout 😂 and didn't go into any more detail.

• He confirmed #46 is Noah Yze training with them

WAYNE WUSSELL'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Wandered in for a gander right on time for time trial. Tomlinson and Spargo ran as though they were here to protect their round 1 spots! Other impressive runs by Fullarton, Tholstrup and Adams (special mention to Jack Viney, who only knows one way!)

I was amazed at how vigorous Melksham was in his rehab exercises. Also good to see Fritsch and Oliver progressing well.

When they began full oval work in several groups, I walked around to watch the young talls on the Punt Road wing. I was impressed with how much effort coach Stafford put in with his instruction to this group. They were primarily engaged in one-on-one marking contests with a small running past to mop up after the contast. Most impressive in the air was Verall, who consistently got the better of Farris-White, Jefferson (who took a couple of good grabs) and Schache. When Benny Brown joined for a short stint, he was excellent at putting his opponent off balance and clunking the ball. I haven't seen Ben looking this strong for some time.

In general, noticed how smooth Billings was in run and disposal. Fullarton and McAdam did not stand out for me in these full ground exercises. Tholstrup looks the closest to senior selection of the newbies. 

DEEZ MAN's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Went down to training with my old man today and I'll do my best to recount what we noticed.

Fritsch, Kozzie & Oliver did plenty of running away from the main group.
Melky looked a lot more mobile than I was expecting but didn't partake in much.
Gussy was there and ran the time trial and seemed to miss out on a couple of drills but was involved in most of the day.

McAdam really looks like a player we've been missing, in the match sim he was constantly leading to the right places and got on the end of a few, including one diving grab out the back. I'm prepared to say he's very likely to be in round one team - though he didn't appear to run the 2km well. Likely one of the worse performers though I don't know what his fitness was like coming to us.

Based on what I saw today, Tholstrup will be in the team very early and I'm actually prepared to say he'll play round 1 and give us a really dynamic option up forward. He brought some really nice energy when playing up forward, won a 50/50 contest and snapped truly. He then kicked another goal a couple minutes later and was clean the entire session. He also ran really well and just looked really at the level already. I am very confident he's going to be a player and he's going to add to us immediately despite not wanting to put too much pressure on him.

A few others mentioned how good Ben Brown looked and he really surprised me too. He was moving well, took a few really nice grabs and finished his work.

My dad and I were both impressed by number 14 who we later learned was Tom Fullarton. He was involved in a lot of things and really surprised me by how well he moved and his skills for a player his size. I'm going to go out on a limb and also say he'll be in the team round 1. He ran well today too.

Admittedly, he didn't get on the end of any but he was playing up the ground more.

It looks like they're going to play Tmac back this year, he was in the backline and did a few good things. One interesting play billings had the ball at half forward and Tmac was marking McAdam.
McAdam manage to evade him found a nice channel and Billings put it on his chest. May told Tmac keep your eyes on the ball carrier instead of your player in that scenario.

Billings was being used a lot in the match sim as the player to distribute the ball inside 50 and he was heavily involved and using it quite well. He's another I think will be a big chance to play early if not round 1.

Viney looked outstanding and did his usual things, max ran well, sparrow ran well and looked good.

Noah Yze was a lot bigger and more mature looking than I was expecting and was running around in #46.

Sestan had a good impact up forward and kicked a nice goal, his running is a mile off though.
He was probably the worst of the 2km time triallers, but he's also just so big through the hips.

Anyway Go Dees!

OLD55's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

The only player I didn't see was Kade Chandler.  As reported Salem left the track at the start so didn't participate. AFAIK everyone else was there and active at some level.

Noah Yze has a good frame - looks to be 188 or so and broad shoulders so size won't hold him back. Right footer.

It was a long session especially when kicked off with the TT. As reported Tommo blitzed the A team group in that.

WALKING CIVIL WAR's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

• The band’s back together!

• SOOO good to see Gussy. i got a greasy hug. Sunscreen everywhere. He apologised, I said worth it just to see you looking so well. He noticed my Demonland T-shirt, I told him everyone on DL loves him and are stoked he’s playing on.

Noah Yze is here! Looks like his dad.

• Kozzie looks great, so fit!

• Today’s session is easy for me to explain… running. Running, running and more running. Poor bastards, I’m knackered just watching them 🥵 

• Maysie just walked past and said “this is the worst, I [censored] hate this” 🤣

The rig on Tommo!!! Apparently he just ran the fastest, according to my buddy who timed them. So, not official. But hella fast. 

• Kolt aka my new bestie came over to say hello. He said, “nice sunnies!” They’re wraparounds so I said, “Yep, I’m rocking the Kolt look today, except mine are Versace, you probably bought yours at the servo for $20” He said, “$25 actually.” 😂

From the Herald Sun:

Melbourne midfield star Angus Brayshaw has been given formal approval to continue his AFL career as he made an impressive return to pre-season training on Monday.

Brayshaw was knocked out in the Demons’ qualifying final loss to Collingwood in one of the most dramatic moments of the season, with good friend Brayden Maynard ultimately cleared by the AFL appeals board.

Brayshaw’s brother said in the immediate aftermath he would consider his football future but as his symptoms cleared Demons mid Angus was always determined to continue his AFL career.

On Monday as the Demons senior players returned to training with a 2km time trial Brayshaw ran impressively in baking Melbourne heat then joined his teammates in training.

The fluro yellow hat which indicated he was not yet allowed contact was the only indication that Brayshaw would be treated differently to his teammates.

The Demons have ticked every medical box and had his return approved by the AFL, which means a player contracted to 2028 will have ambitious plans to play a full 2024 season.

Melbourne’s players broke up into smaller groups for that 2km time trial and Charlie Spargo, who played only 14 senior games this year, set a withering pace.

He led home Jack Viney, Brayshaw and Lachie Hunter in one group, while Adam Tomlinson burnt off hard-running Alex Neal-Bullen in the battle of the club’s best runners.

Ben Brown was limited to only seven AFL games given knee issues in 2023 but ran freely as he pushed Steven May hard and was excellent in match simulation as he enters the final season of his contract.

TRAINING NOTES

Melbourne star Clayton Oliver will be held back from full training until mid-January as he continues to rehabilitate his knee after off-season surgery.

The Demons had said Oliver was four weeks from integrating into full training but the expectation is that the Demons medicos will treat his return date with caution.

Melbourne has few issues with his physical conditioning as he ran sprints, kicked the football to fellow rehab group member Bayley Fritsch and did some light touch work.

And while he will be footy’s most scrutinised man this off-season Melbourne is also optimistic he has made gains away from football with his personal issues.

Coach Simon Goodwin recently admitted Oliver’s complicated personal challenges “have been ongoing for multiple years”.

He was admitted to hospital after a seizure the Demons star said was partly attributed to ADHD medication.

The Demons also have swingman Joel Smith awaiting a date from Sports Integrity Australia for a hearing date over his match-day cocaine positive.

Smith has accepted a provisional suspension and is unable to train with the Demons but will face a short SIA ban as well as a likely Demons internal suspension.

NEW FACES

Melbourne’s draftees in Caleb Windsor and Koltyn Tholstrup were both in action but it was the veterans in former Demon Marty Hore and ex-Saint Jack Billings who will be worth watching over summer.

Billings hit up teammates including full forward Brown with impressive foot skills in match drills to show exactly why the Demons traded for the left-footer.

Hore was the VFL’s best interceptor in the past two seasons and could get early games with Harrison Petty playing forward and Smith potentially suspended.

Tom McDonald and Adam Tomlinson will both be pushing for that third defensive spot behind May and Jake Lever, who was impressive pushing McDonald in their 2km time trial.

Ex-Lions tall Tom Fullarton also ran well as he prepares to back up Gawn in the ruck.

INJURY ISSUES

Melbourne is confident Harry Petty will be in full training well before round 1 as he recovers from a serious lisfranc injury that ended his 2023 season.

Petty, keen to return to Adelaide but not released by the Demons, will play as a key forward alongside Jacob Van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen and ex-Crows forward Shane McAdam were both at the forefront as the Demons slotted straight into mid-forward connection drills.

The Demons failed miserably to capitalise on their welter of inside 50s as they lost in straight sets for the second season in a row.

Fritsch was on light duties after his foot issues of 2023 which included a mid-season fractured foot and then toe ligament injury which he endured through finals.

Kysaiah Pickett ran the time trial but then did run-throughs instead of training with the main group he battles some low-level groin soreness.

Jake Melksham is ahead of schedule in his early recovery from an ACL tear but will only be back late next season.


FULL PRESEASON TRAINING THREAD FROM MONDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2023

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