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TRAINING: Friday 26th January 2024


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Demonland Trackwatchers were out in force at Casey Fields on the Australia Day Public Holiday to bring you their observations from today's Match SIM.


Jefferson, Sparrow, Salem and AMW in rehab. 

Left Melbourne in a breeze and arrived at a cold and wind ravaged Casey.

Sparrow doing warm up drills. Correction, someone wearing Tommy’s number, doesn’t look like Tom

And now a shower!

Petts doing all the warm up.

And they’ve locked off the grandstand for the comfort of the supporters😀🤪

Lever doing all drills. 

Brayshaw isn’t wearing a helmet. That’s the intensity. They play at full pace but not much physicality. 

Can anyone see Petty? Yep, on the bike.

It was a good day at Casey apart from the weather and the wind but fortunately as the players started the match sim both abated a bit and conditions were not too bad.

Watching this match sim is so much more informative than the ball movement drills they do at Gosch's as it's genuinely competitive but tackling is very soft and the intensity is limited. Nobody crashes packs for marks much expect JvR who seems not to be able to help himself. There is the occasional tackle but it's more to impede someone than to take them down.

In the ball movement stuff on Wednesday's the main players don't seem to dominate and the youngins do well but today was a different kettle of fish.  Trac did what he liked and really ruined the game in the first quarter.  Gawn, Trac, Viney and ANB were against an assortment of players the most notable being Rivers.  But Gawn had no opposition (KFW played forward all day) and the centre group had a field day.  Viney is great and looks set for a continuation of last years form, as someone else said ANB was very good and was heavily involved. But again, as noted, Bill was right up there.  He's just a very smart footballer who does smart things.  One goal in windy conditions from the boundary and another where he dodged the man on the mark and kick truly from 45 were highlights but he was involved inside and dished the ball out with good vision and precision. I'm not sure he'll play because of the logjam for spots but he'd be an automatic selection at most clubs.  I know it's easy to get carried away at this time of year so I've got to be careful but keep and eye out for him.

Kade Chandler is another to impress.  Sure hands, good kick and quick today with at least 2 goals and perhaps more.  He ran out of petrol tickets last year but this year he'll be better and better for longer. Problem is he's competing with Kossie, Spargs and a number of others for a spot in the forward line but he certainly put his name forward today.

Howes played deep back and started on Fritta.  What he did he did well and he looks taller than last year to me.  He's got really good skills and seems to have picked up the pace of the game well but of course with the midfield dominating for Fritta's team Howes had his work cut out.  He's an interesting choice for third tall because you'd think it means Lever has to play more accountable footy and that's not his go.  Another interesting watch.

Kynan Brown is also an interesting watch.  He certainly gives it his all and can find the ball well.  He played the game on Langdon and they were on the side where a lot of the play was (due to the wind).  He did some nice things but in a fully contested game he'd be ragdolled I reckon.  But his hands are clean, he is quick enough and he's showing a bit.  A great Moneyball pick.

I was also impressed with Seston.  He was involved in quite a lot of play in the wing/back area and found quite a bit of it in one patch.  He used it well and was clean, he's clearly made improvements to this game this year although he's not close to best 22 at this stage.  But for a smokie he's not disappointing, he's got some really good attributes, his kicking being the main one.

Jake Bowey was really really good.  His disposal is first class, his ball handling is very good and his decision making was good.  He found it a lot today both inside and outside and was a real standout for me.

McAdam is a class footballer but he didn't play the whole game.  In the third he, Brayshaw, Billings and some others were just running laps and McAdam was the tailender so I think they are still trying to build his tank. But when he was on he finds it and uses it and will be an interesting addition unless his fitness stops him being selected.

Rivers played midfield for the last part of the game and did well.  He just looks to be continuing his confident run from late last year and as I type this I'm wondering if Howes takes his spot if Riv plays more up the ground.

Tmac was good today but he wasn't on anyone much.  But he found it and much to DL groupthink kicked it well on all but one occasion.  By the way, he wasn't the only one to miss a kick.  It was a kickout from a point and I don't expect him to take any of them in the seniors.  But in my view he was the third best tall back on the field with the caveat that he didn't really have a challenging opponent.

Fritta took some really good grabs, Kossie did some Kossie things and Woey looked composed with the ball but struggled against the first picked midfield.

The Kolt and Duke had little influence that I saw but Duke played on the grandstand side and I wouldn't have noticed much of his play if he was involved.  Best for others to comment.  Kolt seemed to have little input and is still picking up the pace of the game.

My final point is that the kicking for goal was very good in difficult conditions.  As I commented to others, if we'd kicked like that in the finals we'd have won the flag, but enough of channelling Masie


A fair turn out today. I’d say close to if not over 150 fans.

Choco had a crack at the umps in some tackling drills telling them to pay frees as they see fit. “ we are paying you guys to pay em” he yells.

Gus in full contact tackling drills - doesn’t look concerned one iota.

Kolt as his namesake, breaking tackles and looking powerful. 

Lever looking unhampered in movement but Petty a little unconvincing. May has a spring in his step and looks to be gliding over the ground…

Next drill is a kicking drill where numerous lines from half back handball or shot kick through centre square with minimal defensive pressure. Coming into HF with quick play ons and ultimately a kick into f50 to leading forward. Clearly a focus on quicker ball movement and lowering the eyes into the forward line. 

Maysie caught my eye again with his agility and unimpeded movement 

Mach sim time. Blues vs whites. May (whites) finding hard to exit d50

Blues 13 to 0. Trac gets a back half turnover and powers through -handball to outside and JVR assist to chin for a goal. This is full intensity. 

TMac gets the whites on the board with a snap from congestion.  

Laurie another for the whites with a mark snap from deep f50 on the boundary after a short pass from the McAdam.

ANB mark and play on goal in a similar style to Gawn in game against Geelong in PF of ‘21.

Fritta with a beauty contested mark after a blues contest with on the wing. Caleb took a two tackles getting to Trac on the outside who the delivered a bullet to Fritta who slotted it through for the Blues 6th.

Salem has been doing plenty of running and has not participated in match sim along with Hunter and Sparrow.

Great transition work from Rivers, McVee and Bowey who get it to McAdam with a bullet pass. Unfortunately McAdam not familiar with the wind patterns at Casey and fangs the kick bad. 

Our starting defenders getting schooled.  Not sure I’m happy with their intensity.   

Laurie play a on from set shot and goals for the whites for his second. Couldn’t see player on the mark but clearly they were asleep at the wheel. 

Great passage of play with plenty of hard tackles. Bowey crunched my Kozzy, Chin by Tommo.  It may not be finals intensity but players are not holding back. 

Centre clearance goal to start q3.

Gawn to Viney to AnB to Trac to Kozzy all through quick and precise handballs. Kozzy snaps from 30m indirectly in front straight through the big ones 

TMac should never take kick outs. Merchant of the turnover variety. 

Gawn contested mark after Caleb “Leb” lose ball get, hand balls to Viney with a short kick mark to Gawn who finds JvR in the forward pocket. Set shot goal from 30m on a tight angle. 

The white team has done what no team has done before. Scored 10 goals in the blink of an eye. Literally. Blue team coming back through with Lingers on the end of a JVR short pass who snaps from the boundary. Down by 3 points. 

Petty seems to have a slight limp in his gait. Right foot appears hampered. Still running with McAdam and Gus.

But is now taking part in a modified pre set match sim scenario. Took a mark on the lead and foaled.

#33 Fullarton limping from ground

Re: Fullarton injury,  the training session today went for over 3 hours.  Fullarton appeared to damage it right at the end of it which is shocking luck. Whether it happened abruptly or not we don’t know, but to me that was a bit of mismanagement of his running loads. 


A lot has been mentioned already but a few additional points from me (noting I left at half time of match sim)….

Kingy and Montagne spotted so look out for their updates on whatever platform you follow!

McAdam and Hore had a great battle and both genuine Rd.1 Chances. McAdam quite impressive

Jeffo, JVR, KFW + Verrall all put on some size

Tommo looks a little leaner which I believe will be good for him 

ANB was involved in a couple of really great set plays that he was integral too via a kick, handball or tackle

Trac seen doing Trac things

Not sure if it was a set play but May handballed to Bowey from a kick in who then kicked to the opposite flank Gawny was present at….good to see us at least try something different from a kick in

Rivers really looks to have started 24’ where he left off in 23’

Spargo and Kozzy ultra physical in a tackling drill at the start of the days session; was great to see the boys mean business even at training

I didn’t spot Lachie Hunter

Great to see the good attendance. Shame the club didn’t promote it somewhat given it fell on a PH.

Good morning out …. Go Dees!


Great to see so many numbers show up and watch the boys - I imagine we will be inundated with reports from today.

Rufus du Sol and Fred Again were blasting through the speakers as the boys warmed up before getting into 4 periods of match sim.

No shows: Oliver, Brown, Smith

Present but not involved: Melky, Hunter

Running on side: Jefferson, Sparrow, AMW, Petty (Petty did get involved for the last period of match play)

A few notes from match sim:

There was a focus on changing the angle of the play, very aggressive ball movement

Bowey was absolutely brilliant rebounding off half back, often linking up multiple times in the one passage - players were looking to get the ball in his hands 

As much as people won’t like to hear it, ANB was playing through the midfield and was one of our best

On a similar note, TMac was also good down back - competed very strongly in the air, however you still have to worry about his decision making and kicking coming out of defence. Will be competing for that third tall spot

Max could do what he wanted today. Manhandled Fullarton in ruck contests and was putting the ball on a platter to the mids. Fullarton not offering a contest at all. Update: Fullarton limped off with a lower leg injury right at the end - the only injury concern to come out of today.

I thought Verrall was the most impressive of the backup rucks, at least provided contest at stoppages compared to the others - it is a bit worrying if Max does go down though (touch wood!)

Chandler heavily involved in the opening period, both in the link up and on the scoreboard 

Rivers was great in the B teams midfield, Laurie also competed well in there and was heavily involved

Hore solid, and will be fine if needed to come in

Howes interestingly started in the A teams defence, however did not notice too much involvement

The usuals: Trac makes things look easy, Viney is a gun, Fritsch our best up forward today, Kozzie and Roo got on the end of a few towards the end

The wingers (besides Langdon) didn’t get near it today. Billings and Windsor hardly touched it. Windsor appeared to lack confidence out there. He was constantly on the receiving end of barking instructions from players and coaches - an overload of information. Obviously has plenty of time, but the other top few from the draft this year seem to be dominating their respective clubs’ trainings. 

McQualter seems like a terrific pick up to replace Yze in the coaching ranks, was very vocal out there today

My best players today (in no particular order): Trac, Viney, Gawn, Laurie, Bowey, Rivers, TMac, ANB, Fritsch 


Great day out to watch.   Ground is in fantastic condition.   Lots of lines on oval at both ends at various angles to goals.   It's part of Williams set shot kicking where they stay on the line in approach over dummy on mark.  Rained half way through but didn't appear to affect ball handling.

Great to see so many spectators, especially so many young kids.

About 6 Casey players there to make up the numbers especially in match Sim which had proper umpires in control. The Casey boys were not as clean but still did some nice things and the rest of the group made sure they were involved.

A lot of the run through drills prior to the match sim were at a high intensity with reflex give offs.

I suggest anyone going to watch to take some binocculars so you can pick up players on opposite side of ground.

Before match sim they went inside the rooms and could see through the windows doing close in drills in the indoor kicking area for about 15 minutes, but it was all possession and handball, close contact stuff and no kicking.

Petracca is so far in front of anyone else, it's not funny.  Kozzie was great and his run down tackle had the whole crowd applauding.

Verell will be the back up ruckman - along way ahead of KFW, Fullarton and Schache

Feel sorry for Laurie as he really impressed, but basically has to take ANB's spot and he was good as well.  Hard to see taking Viney and both smalls into the midfield.

Howes, Hore and Turner all did good intercepts 

TMac and Tomlinson also did but the other 3 are more nimble and could play on smaller opponents.  McVee was very good.

Brayshaw marked Tholstrup for a while and they are both similar body shapes.

McAdam for me is the pick of the recruits.  Just so quick with every thing he does.

I don't know who the fitness guy is, but he spent a lot of time with the guys doing boundary runs.   All the coaches being very involved. 

May was the most vocal and giving directions to everyone. I think Lever did the whole match sim and looked ok.

Fritsch and JVR were the best forwards.  The main forward line looked good and you still have Jefferson, Brown, Melksham and Petty to come into consideration who didn't participate.  Didn't notice Schache at all.

Noah Yze has a big build already for a young kid.

Looks like Rivers will play midfield.  I hope Bowey gets a licence to go through the middle of the ground wherever he plays as he is so dangerous.  Quick and brilliant disposal.

Midfield looked good and still didn't have Oliver, Sparrow and Hunter involved.  Billings spent a lot of match sim doing boundary runs with fitness guy.

Tholstrup and Windsor showed enough although only a few touches.  Just hope they hold them both back for a while.

Spargo covered a lot of ground and hit up some good passes. 

Woewodin did a couple of nice things but not much else.  Langdon covered a lot of ground and got a bit of it.

Chandler was lively and kicked a couple of goals but missed an easy right foot snap from end of goal square.

AMW ran laps after some short kicking at the start.

Sestan hardly noticed, but you can't see everything.  Seems to second guess himself instead of doing.


Melbourne match sim notes

Howes playing third tall in ‘probables’ defence

Windsor and Billings on wing, Windsor getting some CBAs

Rivers through the middle

McDonald/Tomlinson/Brayshaw playing defence

Salem, Jefferson, Sparrow, Petty and Hunter did not participate


Rivers the standout and looks ready to take another leap.

Bailey Laurie in the midfield look terrific, expect more opportunities

Kynan Brown did some nice things.

A club not needing massive improvement, but McAdam certainly adds potency up fwd

Fullarton injured late in session, possibly bad hammy but await more details/accuracy from club.

The back up ruck position interesting dilemma, or if Max misses some football in ‘24.

Leaders are awesome trainers and drive the session as you’d expect.

Petracca phenomenal.



I was going for an afternoon walk through Gosch's Paddock and saw Clarry Oliver training on Melbourne's training ground. He was running laps and seemed in good spirits as he replied to me that he was going well. He was there with someone else and they had footballs with them. He looked in good spirits, but I am unsure how far he is behind everyone else in conditioning.


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1 hour ago, Demonland said:



I was going for an afternoon walk through Gosch's Paddock and saw Clarry Oliver training on Melbourne's training ground. He was running laps and seemed in good spirits as he replied to me that he was going well. He was there with someone else and they had footballs with them. He looked in good spirits, but I am unsure how far he is behind everyone else in conditioning.



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