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PRESEASON TRAINING: Wednesday 24th January 2024


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Howes looks impressive. Wouldn't surprise to see him in round 1 calculations. Covers the ground well, has good defensive intent with follow up acts and uses it well.

JvR has kicked 3 in the last 5min. Last one courtesy of a clever checkside pass from Laurie while under pressure

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2 minutes ago, Gorgoroth said:

How is JVR looking in terms of size and is he mainly leading towards players or playing higher up and coming back towards goal?

Impressive size, mainly playing deep and leading up or contesting 30metres out. Haven't seen him get up much past the flanks.

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Got down there for 90 minutes. Others have covered key moments very well, so I will put in a few observations that haven't already been reported.

The full ground activity is non-stop running, a real stamina test. Players are called to play on if they pause for longer than three seconds. The intensity is sky high. The physicality is brutal at times. McAdam came off second 'beast' when trying to block a rampaging Rivers. He had to take time out for a short period with a saw jaw. Rivers was exceptional with strength on the burst, and ball carrying finesse. Fritsch slung Bowey roughly to the carpet (immediately apologised) but Bowey had bounced up like a rubber ball and tore through the middle with perfect delivery. Bowey's speed on the run from defence was sensational, time and time again. Howes and Windsor are putting tremendous pressure on the selectors at this early stage. Howes took an excellent high mark in defence, then ran back with the flight for a magnificent spoil in the very next rebound. He is taller than I thought. McDonald is fitter than he has been since 2021. He is match ready, wherever he plays.

Spargo was another standout in the end-to-end match sim, making excellent position and displaying outstanding short kicking skills (nothing new there, but he is another that looks very fit). Was impressed with Fullarton again. We have a live one there! He is athletically gifted and shows the 'clevers' with ball in hand. Max was taking big clean marks down the line and dispersing with excellent foot skills.

After each period of 'play' the teams (Blue and Grey) huddle together for evaluation and tactical discussion. I was near the Blue huddle and May, Petracca and Brayshaw did the (straight) talking. Other senior input I noticed... Lever tutoring Jefferson on marking technique and Melksham advising McAdam on positioning.

I left feeling that we will play a very fast, very effective game style in 2024, with very good list depth and several emerging young guns on the rise!

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I asked Chatgpt for 500 words of Star Trek fan fiction to honour Pickett Fence but what it produced was too magical to share.

Melk looks just about ready to go! I'm sure they'll hold him back but he's doing a lot of moving around and kicking.

Lever on the bike. BBB in the tent. Jeffo doing a bunch of whatever. AMW with a really solid running sessions, had Ricky Korda Mentha with him for a bit. Sparrow in and out of some running.

Totally agree that Salo looks fitter than he has in a long time. Not sure if he's lost weight or if he's just added a lot of core strength. He did a huge session of sprints and longer runs.

Petty was in full drills early then taken out. Hunter in full stuff until about half way through the match sim when he went for some run throughs.

After some warm up drills the first competitive one they went in to was a 2 way handball drill, split in 2 different groups. A middle group with an extra mid going both ways and then a group out on the wing that had 3 different back flankers taking turns to run off the back off the drill for overlap. It was Rivers, Bowey and McVee.

I was impressed by Laurie's quick skills at times but he's a guy who takes it on and will make the occasional error. Petty was in the drill and looked strong and agile. Riv and McVee have great moments of burst off the line. McAdam's a bit iffy at times but there's other moments where he just plants the foot and is gone, he has incredible acceleration. Billings struggled a little in this, he found the contest a bit hot.

Then it was time for a couple of periods of 14 a side match sim. Starting midfields of Viney, Pickett, Spargo in white and Tracc, Laurie and Billings in blue. With Windsor and Brown on one wing and the starting wings on the other.

The first period was high class. Howes hit up Fritsch with a couple of beautiful kicks. A Seston dart in to corridor found Fullarton and on to Billings then Chandler close to goal. Spargo hit up Viney charging through the middle, who spread it wide to Windsor on a forward flank, he rolled inside and actually missed Koltyn who picked it up on the bounce and dished a handball to ANB for the snap.

The second period was a bit messier as teams stepped up their pressure. Verrall nailed Spargo in a tackle. JVR out marked Adams and T Mc with relative ease. After about 4 errors in a row Tracc swooped on a contest and cleanly set up a goal. Melk was on the boundary with plenty of advice for the guys coming off and had a long chat to McAdam.

Then it was more 2 way handball. This time it was Howes, Gus and Bowey in the orange bibs. I noticed Laurie in pink going both ways in the other group. And then handed over to Viney. I mostly watched the close group but I did look up to see JVR just destroy a Viney fend off and eat him up in a tackle. Fritter also sling tackled Bowser in to next week but let go before any damage done. I saw more tackling from Fritsch today than I've ever seen his career.

Might've been one more match sim period in there somewhere then I left as they were moving in to more craft stuff with the talls working doing some lead up contest work, wingers and new guys some ground balls and the rest kicking goals on the run from 40.

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I'm just back from training and it's really interesting reading others views of today as they differ from mine a bit.

JvR said in a recent interview that today is ball movement day and Friday's are match practice so take that into account when you hear about players scoring goals.  It's non stop movement and there is plenty of space and lots of room in the forward line and there are goals scored all the time.  It's not "match practice" and the tackling is done with care.  For me it's more like intensive circle work but maybe I'm wrong.

Perspective at training is always interesting.  Bowser has been mentioned a lot particularly for his disposal but I thought he was a bit off today missing some kicks he would usually hit, but he was very involved and very focused.  He's agile and tough.  Yze was very involved and looks a good prospect.  Got lots of the ball and didn't look out of place out there.  But my standout for the day was Jack Billings.  He's a Moneyball pick and he'll be a beauty.  His kicking today was better than anyone out there as he hit up hard targets all day.  He's clearly fit and covering the ground well and will be regular best 22 from round 1.

JvR is looking very imposing taking contested marks and finding space well.  He's put on some bulk but it hasn't impacted his speed or spring and he is still super aggressive at the ball.  His kicking is also very reliable.

Windsor was more involved today than I've noticed on other days and certainly has a turn of pace although on one occasion when he was out by himself and running down the wing McAdam nearly caught him.  Unlike others I don't see him as a round 1 candidate but who knows.

All the older players were involved in ways you'd expect and I endorse the comments made about Viney and Trac.

I saw Petty in the match sims early but he either didn't get much of it or didn't do much of it because I didn't see him involved much.  I hope others can clarify his day.

It was a tough day today, hot, humid and they ran for a full two and a half hours.  There was also a good crowd, amazing what happens when you advertise training and give people a bit of notice.

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3 hours ago, Demonland said:

I’m at Gosch’s Paddock today and I will attempt to bring you a running commentary of my observations. I will collate all my musings in this post at the end of training. 

Is this the last session for the week? I was hoping to take the kids Friday does anyone know if they training?

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Just now, Tucker said:

Is this the last session for the week? I was hoping to take the kids Friday does anyone know if they training?

The next open training session at Gosch's Paddock is next Wednesday 31st January 2024 @ 9:30am. Fridays session is at Casey Fields.

Gosch's Paddock

Wednesday January 31
9:30am - 11:30am

Casey Fields

Friday January 26
9:30am - 11:30am

Monday January 29
9:30am - 11:30am

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This preseason, I have not seen much discussion about Ed Langdon. Is he just another old guard player who goes about his business at training without drawing attention to himself and does what you would expect?

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4 minutes ago, Tucker said:

Is this the last session for the week? I was hoping to take the kids Friday does anyone know if they training?

At Casey on Friday morning. 

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