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PRESEASON TRAINING: Wednesday 24th January 2024


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Team impressions:

More focus on run and carry and forward handball

More full ground spread and switching in the match sim which was great to see

McQualter vocal in drills and in revving up his blue side.

Tracc and Viney are both rolling, but with Clarry sidelined, Gus smartly being held back (and down back) and Salo and Sparrow out for now it's hard to judge the 2 way impact of the midfield

Individual impressions:

Howes: I'm not quite there yet, can nail quick penetrating kicks but still very thin and has too many contests where he doesn't impact the ball or the body

Kolt: very busy half forward, marks cleanly over head, puts in the work rate, moves the ball well by hand, not perfect by foot but there's some good decisions mixed in and bobs up in dangerous places

Windsor: He found a really good chunk of the footy in the match sim. Kicking wasn't quite in sync and even missed some handballs as he gets up to the pace of AFL level but I was impressed by how he was getting the ball and the number of defensive efforts he produces. He'll lay a tackle or get a hand in to cut off a kick or handball a fair bit.

Jed Adams: Didn't see a heap of contests with him involved but there were times he linked up or swooped on to loose balls and used it really well.

Marty Hore: looks really comfortable 

JVR: Last year he bashed and crashed with Petty and Hibbo most of the summer and he held his own against quality defenders, where others and the media were hyping him up I was more cautious as to his early season prospects. He wasn't up against that same quality today but what I saw was a real presence with the way he draws the ball.

Billings: I reported above that he underwhelmed me in the handball drills, a little fumbly, didn't hold his tackles, didn't dish it cleanly. The match sim was an entirely different thing. Time and time again he found pockets of space to receive the ball and then quickly and accurately moved it on. Kind of left feeling conflicted that he might be our best ball user and not by a small margin. As someone skeptical of his recruitment and aware of his injury history it feels every uneasy to witness just how important the was.

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23 minutes ago, La Dee-vina Comedia said:

Was that a good spoil (ie, a deliberate spoil showing great courage by going back with the flight) or a bad spoil (ie, he got in Chandler's way)?

Good spoil, defended well and wouldn't have given away a front on contact free either.

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Got there just in time for match sim and it was good viewing - I think it was 14 a side so as to increase space and minimise head knock potential and they even had two on bench which makes you wonder why the AFL insists on 18 a side - yes i know it's traditional but when that rule was created, players didn't run the whole field like wild banshees.

In terms of match sim, here's my ovservations:

Firstly I think a nasty head clash between T-Mac and McAdam early may have impacted McAdam's play in the match sim - the last time I came to training he was a highlight machine, this time I didn't feel he was involved much. But I'm still sure he'll play Rd 1.

Also a lock for Rd 1 is Jack Billings. He hits targets and moves so well, although 14-a-side is bread and butter to him. But with Hunter out with a calf (that's what the club says, so let's stick with it), then you have to think Billings starts in his left-side wing.

As with others, the highlight play (at least Goody's yelling approval made it clear he thought so) was Windsor's commitment in the air to spoil Chandler. Windsor also went for a few runs and you can sense he is looking for the goal-assist each time he goes forward - please don't train that out of him Goody. He may go close to Rd 1 after all, but I'd be disappointed if Langdon doesn't get first shot on the right wing.

Spargo played down back and I don't mind this except that when he's in the same side as Bowey and McVee, then we are too small. Bowey saved his best work for the goalkicking drill straight after match sim, he was the only player to convert from 50m on the run three times in a row. He's an amazing kick for a little guy and is more accurate than Rivers, so here's the thing Goody, figure out how you can get him into a position where he's likely to get that sort of long-bomb on the run opportunity a few times each game.

While we are on that, yes I know defenders train with defenders, forwards train with forwards and never the twain shall meet, but can someone please explain to me why we can't use a bit of a modern-day Barassi move and swap players around from time to time. They aren't all numbskulls - some get the pre-requisites of both spots. For example, why not swap Spargo and Bowey from defence/forward spots at halftime - that won't bugger up rotations and they are both smart players. 

A few others that stood out to me in match sim.

Firstly Jed Adams is getting closer to being ready for AFL level. It may not be until Rd 15, but I reckon he's starting to look the part. I still worry about the reliability of his kicking but Harry Petty began his career with a couple of howlers - errors do happen, but he has now got the body to cope. He's behind Disco, Tommo and Hore in the queue, but he's getting close.

Secondly, and I suggest some of you go straight to the next paragraph because this isn't what you want to read, the most impactful player in the first half of match sim wore the No.19. Cringe. Yep Josh Schache snagged a couple and led well - if we hadn't seen last year he'd be in the side now. Maybe the 14-a-side suits him more, but he did look very good.

And for those of you who are Bill Laurie fans, then I'm sorry to say it wasn't his game. He seemed to be playing like a defensive midfielder trying to cleverly come out of defence and twice was scragged beautifully from behind. A few minutes later he laid a dreadful over the top tackle and became virtually the only player not paid a free kick for a chase down. Bill is creative (we all know that) and he was in the group with the better runners at the end of the session. But he just does not seem to be able to explode away from a contest like Trac.

Finally i was standing on the outer side in the shade and after a while I notice I was near Perty and Richo and a couple of other dudes. I did overhear them talking, out of the side of their mouths which is the Demon way of late, about culture. I almost piped up and told them to choose another topic because the only people that should have talked about culture - Goody and Roffy - are too scared to do so.

And while I'm at it, drugs in youth is a societal problem, it's everyone's problem, not just the Dees problem. Start owning it and knowing it and you will go a long way to coping with it. Enough said.

One more thing on the real topic, I didn't mention it earlier, but there were two players who were the clear standouts of match sim and provided the warmth and enthusiasm for this old fan to be looking forward to the coming season.

One is a little fella called Kozzie and he played in the middle and bounced around like a guy in the front row of a Smashmouth concert. The club's told us he'd play midfield minutes before but with McAdam around now, maybe it will actually happen. And if he does he could win the Brownlow from there.

And for the purists, you'd have to be a puffin muffin not to have noticed how good JVR looked as our full-forward. He's the closest thing to Charlie Curnow that we have on our list. God help us if he gets injured. 

Edited by Deespicable
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25 minutes ago, dazzledavey36 said:

How did Woewodin go in the match sims?

I was looking for him in the first period but I think if he was involved it was on the far wing to where I was.

He was on the wing in the later periods when Hunter was rested and he got involved a bit, showed some pace but seemed to miss his kicks.

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I also headed down to training this morning. Pretty much all of it has been very well covered by previous posts.

I wouldn't call the full ground drills match sim. It was under pressure and with tackling but there were less players on the ground and no stoppages. The focus appeared to be more on ball movement and transition running forward and back. When reading comments on this part of the training it should be taken into account that while it looked a bit like match sim it was more full ground ball movement under pressure.

The drills have been well set out here so just some observations on certain players:

JVR - yes it's only January ball movement training but I thought he had more presence and strength in aerial contests than at this stage last season. Last January you'd see him jump at the ball and be brave and aggressive but it didn't really seem like he'd actually clunk the ball in the pack or be in best position to mark it. This time I thought when the ball was in his area he actually looked like being the dominant force in the pack and the most likely to impact. That said, with Lever not training and May not involved in JVR's contests, he wasn't exactly playing on the cream of the crop defenders which he will face during the season.

Fritsch - seemed to be on a tackling rampage. I thought he was very physical with his tackling, bringing blokes to ground on a number of occasions. Not sure if just a one-off or he has targeted this as an area to focus on but it was noticeable. 

Billings - as others have said, he excelled in the ball movement in finding space and then arcing onto the left and kicking long and accurately to teammates on the lead. He showed real class. But again 14v14 in 30 degrees in January is a far cry from the cauldron of the MCG on a cold day in July. I think he has the potential to really add to our side as our midfield mix could really do with a long-kicking left footer. It can help change the direction of play and with switching. We have Hunter and Viney but both are not long kicks and the former almost invariably looks for the 20-30m chip option.

-Salem - just did running on the side but I agree with others, he did seem noticeably leaner than last year.

-Tholstrup - he just has a great presence about him. Presence is such an intangible thing that is hard to explain, but he has it. He's a good size (both in height and thickness) and looks like he could develop into a really powerful player when he puts on more muscle. Had a few wobbly kicks during the day but he's a player that you seem drawn to watching and I'm looking forward to seeing him play matches (most likely starting with Casey).

-Kozzie - does some things no one else on the list can. A pick up, sidestep and acceleration away from the constant almost in one move.

-May - speaking of presence. Whenever there was an aerial contest in his area, you just knew he would mark it or impact the contest. A tremendous footballer.

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2 hours ago, forever demons said:

He was a shocking chb so cringeworthy every time he got near the ball

Apart from the time he kicked 53 goals in a season...

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3 hours ago, forever demons said:

He was a shocking chb so cringeworthy every time he got near the ball

Are you off your meds or maybe still at school ? 

Tom was actually our best key defender in some of our worst ever teams where the defence was constantly under pressure.

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Just now, Cranky Franky said:

Are you off your meds or maybe still at school ? 

Tom was actually our best key defender in some of our worst ever teams where the defence was constantly under pressure.

YOU MUST BE JOKING.Have Bex and a good ly down.And keep your insults to yourself

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2 hours 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?

Bring em down to Casey, you can teach them slithera awareness as well!

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1 hour ago, Cranky Franky said:

Are you off your meds or maybe still at school ? 

Tom was actually our best key defender in some of our worst ever teams where the defence was constantly under pressure.

Agree with this.

In the first half of 2015 he was a leading contender for the All Australian full back. If you can cut him some slack with the occasional poor disposal, he's a fine defender who is very competitive one on one. Even in rare cameos down back such as the round 1 win over the Dogs in 2022, or in Gather Round VS Essendon when he stemmed the bleeding down back in the absence of Lever, he gets the job done.

I think we're good hands in our defence with Tomlinson, Turner and T Mac all vying for the third tall defender which is an essential position in our side - we simply lose games if we go too small in defence.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, forever demons said:

He was a shocking chb so cringeworthy every time he got near the ball

Tmac was more than serviceable as a key back he just has a problem with depth of kicks which would result in his kicks either dropping short or more than likely going over the head of the leading player. This problem was some what eliminated when moved forward and he became pretty reliable kick for goal as it didnt matter how far over the goal umpires head the ball ended up going.

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Just thinking. 

May, Lever, Tomlinson, TMac, Turner for talls down back.

Salem, Bowey, McVee, Brayshaw, Hore, Howes, for mids and smalls down back.

Which other team would not be envious of our list and choices.

Good sign for 2024.

GO DEES.

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19 minutes ago, Neil Crompton said:

Who is more likely to get first go down back - Hore or Howes - based on training to date?

Very different roles but I’d pick Hore as the 3rd tall over Howes as a flanker right now.

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