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TRAINING: Wednesday 31st January 2024


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A number of Demonland Trackwatchers descended upon Gosch's Paddock on Wednesday morning to witness the return of 4 time Bluey winner Clayton Oliver and also bring you their observations from Preseason Training.


Rehab: Clarry, Hunter, Melksham, Fullarton, Brown, Verrell

Absent: Smith, Sparrow

White: Max, Rivers, Kozzy, Trac, Lever, JVR, TMac, Langdon, AMW, Jefferson, Spargo, N Brown, Sestan, McAdam, Laurie, Tomlinson, Billings

Blue: Viney, May, Fritsch, Brayshaw, Bowey, Hore, KFW, Salem, Verrell, Schache, Adam’s, Tholstrup, McVee, Chandler, ANB, Turner, Woey, Howes

Hunter working with a training testing out his calf. Was back in full training last week after a calf complaint. Looks like he has had a reoccurrence. 

Petty out on the field in White talking to an assistant coach with a footy in hand but not training with the main group. 

Clarry spent the first 20 to 30 minutes working 1 on 1 with new Assistant Coach Andrew McQualter and then began doing run throughs and other exercises separate from the main group with instruction from High Performance Manager Selwyn Griffiths. He ended his session doing a marathon session of running laps and interval running with Salem at a good clip.

Whilst not in the main group it was great seeing him interact with players and the general feeling amongst those in the crowd watching was one of joy and optimism. Bang! Bang, Bang, Bang. 

Salem back training with the main group. Looks to be in exceptional nick. 

Clarry doing some drills with Selwyn end with a kick to a stationary Petty. 

Verrell has left the main group and is running laps. 

Salem, Hore & McAdam have left the main group as well and are running laps. 

AMW & Jefferson have left the main group and are doing a 2 on 2 handball drill with Clarry and Selwyn

My uneducated guess is that the players I have just mentioned as leaving the main group are being eased back in to full training and are “avoiding” the physicality of the current drill. 

Main group has finished with the keeping’s off hand ball and tackling drill and Hore & McAdam are back with the main group. 

Salem went with them but then came back to the boundary. Will keep an eye on what he does. 

Rivers is a beast with his run and follow-up off half back. 

Windsor picks the ball off the deck, sells some candy and pinpoints a pass across the ground to McVee. He has some silky skills. 

Trac don’t argues Kolt and then somehow creates space in a sea of people accelerating out of the pack. Vintage powerful Trac

Clarry and Salem running half laps at a very quick pace. 

Windsor with great closing speed to tackle AMW and stop a certain goal. With a cloud on Hunter could we see Windsor as an early round starter?

Viney (who is hobbling maybe a corkie) and May (looking sore) have joined Hore and McAdam in separating from the main group to do some run throughs along the boundary whilst the main group splits into two groups to do a keepings off handball drill with tackling. 

May did not join the main group but continued running laps at a decent pace for the remainder of the session.

Viney hobbling off the field now. Does not look comfortable running. 

Jefferson doing some leading and one on one marking work with 2 trainers separate from the main group. 

JVR’s marking on a lead is lethal. Now we just need to hit him up more often. 

Howes drills a beautiful pass down JVR’s throat on a lead. 

JVR gets some air time and takes a lovely chest mark. 

Gawn doesn’t have much competition around the ground and has complete aerial supremacy. 

Spargo getting a lot of the footy in more of a midfield role. 

Bowser is elite by foot. 

Billings too is very accurate by foot on the run hitting up targets. 

Kozzy is very classy will ball in hand. Praying for more midfield time in 2024.

Both Howes and Laurie are also elite by foot. I expect both of these two to get a look in sooner rather than later.

TMac's disposal out of defence has been great which also surprised me.

My surprise packet this preseason is the work of Fritsch up the field and his physicality when laying tackles. Did not expect that and am loving it.

In case anyone isn’t aware Trac is an absolute beast swatting off opponents as he does whatever he pleases. 

Bit concerned with Petty. He rocked up to training in the white Jumper indicating  he was in one of the teams (Blue vs White jumpers). He had boots in hand but then didn’t train. Another uneducated guess but I get the feeling he was intending to train but then had a niggle or awareness and didn’t train. He didn’t do any running like the other rehabbers and just watched on the sidelines. He just walked back to the rooms with a trainer and whilst wasn’t exactly limping his walking did look hampered. Watch this space. 


Oliver is down training.

He is out early with Gawn doing some simple centre work drills.

Now he is drilling with McQualter, as Goody looks on. During a break Goody comes over to him and they embrace.

What I would love to see,  is him joining the main group when the whistle for collecting together goes off.

They have collected and Oliver is doing his own program.

Plenty out early, Rucks all drilling together, a few of the smalls drilling fast steps and shimmies around mannequins. Many are goal kicking. Tomlinson and TMac drilling together.

No Sparrow.

Rehab include, Petty doing mainly bike work, Melksham strolling around, Fullarton exercising with a trainer, BBB and Hunter very light duties. Jefferson training with an assistant.  Starting numbers of full training was about 31 players, no run-ons (Yze, Mentha).

We ended with about 27, 28 fully fit players. A bit of a worry given we are 5 weeks out. Viney was tackled between a player and the ground, shorts were ripped on one side, and he was limping. Kept playing, then left for some run throughs but couldn't complete them. Cork to the hip, I reckon. May ran some laps, as did Salem, who partnered Clarry in numerous laps. McAdam had some laps, though returned to the sim. Hore ran laps before the end of sims. Verral seems to have a running program going, fitness I reckon.

Warms ups were the same as usual, 3 stations, one funny walk, the other handballs and third was short kicks. They then do some run throughs, Tholstrup putting in more than the others.

They then go to more dynamic kicking drills, one precision, one lead to long kick to behind the player. A third was also used, (didn't observe well). They were boisterous, and playfully in the approach to each other.

Off to the handball games, which became interspersed with the sims.

They were still running many players through the on-ballers, Spargo, Billings, Bowey, Laurie, Viney, Gus, Tracc. The wings had some young players, K.Brown, Windsor, Woey, as well as Langdon there. At one stage they put Tholstrup down back up against Rivers who was forward. Jed Adams was looking good. Spargo ran the legs off the others, Kossie was playing a little selfish, Howes kicking was elite a few times. McAdams loves getting out the back for a goal. JVR holding some marks and getting on the lead. Fritta is back.


Caught about 40 minutes today, some of the handball drills and then a few periods of main stuff.

I think Bowey was the standout, he’s really charging off the back in the handball receive drills and kept that going in the match sim. Using it well too.

The other player who really impressed me was Fritsch just much more involved as a complete player coming up the ground in match sim. 

Match sim was fairly messy and unremarkable. Certainly more focus on run and carry and switching. Bowey, Pickett, Viney & Spargo all had moments in the corridor.

Blue team had Chandler and ANB at half forward and seemed to have an easier time pressuring and moving the ball than white team which had Gawn, Pickett, Tracc and a talent edge in the middle. 

Not too much on the new guys. Kolt had a few link ups and found space in the match sim. Windsor still iffy with some of his disposals but there’s times were his pace is a huge advantage. They’ve finally got him a jumper that fits and he looks stronger.

One that stood out a bit in the small handball drills was Jed Adams. Kossie burnt straight passed Schache and was planning the do the same to Adams but Jed quickly chased him down. I know he was impressive in the grand final sprint but he has really good speed off the mark too. Plenty to work on but that’s such an advantage for a tall defender.


Got down there for 90mins. Clarrie was looking good and giving off good vibes. He said hello, I told him it was good to see him. He did some photos with a young bloke near me, who was stoked. He had affectionate interactions with BBB and Billings, then soft tackled AMW to the ground and held him down (in good humour).

I'm reporting a future injury... whoever tackled Viney, tore his shorts half off and gave him a corky!

Many impressions from the session have already been posted, so I only have a few observations to share. Fritta looks very fit and is in everything, more physical in the contest than I remember. Tom McDonald is very strong in the clinches and I now have him on a par with Tomlinson, with Disco very close behind them. Adams looks good on the burst, but doesn't yet have the strength of the other three. Adam's kicking is also a bit iffy target-wise.

I watched Stafford's ruck group closely. Max is dominant, as you would expect, but he provides elite competition for the up-and-comers. On todays form, Schache is the closest to providing Max with any competition, followed by Verall, who seems quite a bit shorter (even though listed as 199) and Farris-White, who is clearly improving.

I need to report a few well known negatives from today's end-to-end stuff. Lever still stuffs up the occasional short pass and Trac still murders a few passes and gets very grumpy with himself.

Petty was on the sidelines for this activity, but he and Tomlinson were yelling a lot of advice to the youngsters about positioning. They were particularly vocal toward Kynan Brown, who seemed only moderately interested in what they were calling out.

It's true, Caleb Windsor is a talent. Quick, evasive and sure by foot. Glides around like a famous wingman who owned the members' wing!


For me it is a short train ride to training.

It feels like you have enough time to eat a Burger with the Lot whilst waiting for the Punt Rd lights to change.

Clarrie!!!! - lifted my spirits; still has that same boyish grin and his preferred method of greeting seems to be a wrestle.  Light duties, lots of running, some dodging and don't quote me but has magnificent hips.  Couldnt lay a tackle on him in a phone box.  Had more sunscreen on than the combined U9s cricket team. Looked in excellent spirits. Lots of media in attendance

Chin and Spargs train like they are competing for the same spot.

Salo, Hore and McAdam runing some laps.  I dont think Salo would raise a puff blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.  McAdam fitness work in progress.

BBB made an appearance on the boundary line, handballing.  What a head of hair - to think mine started to clog the vacuum cleaner from 15....

TMacs hair coming back to normal.

Petty - light duties, feeding handballs into a drill

May doesnt tackle lightly

No matter where I stand on the fence  it always seem to be happening on the other side....grass is always greener.....

Go Dees



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