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TRAINING: Wednesday 7th February 2024


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A bunch of Demonland Trackwatchers enjoyed the sunshine at Gosch's Paddock to watch a rapidly depleted Dees go through their paces with exactly a month to go until a ball is bounced in anger.

DEMONLAND'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

REHAB: Brown, Hunter, AMW, Fullarton, Turner, Clarry, TMac, Melksham, McAdam

ABSENT: Smith

All players in Blue guernseys today.

Clarry is in the building (Gosch’s Paddock).

Petty is present with footy boots on. 

Clarry doing drills with McQualter. He was leading toward McQualter and zig zagging before running straight at him to mark the ball on the lead. 

Verrell who has been in the rehab group recently is doing warmup drills with the talls. Will keep an eye to see if he’s in the main group for the rest of training. 

AMW and Fullarton working on agility drills with a trainer. 

Hunter doing stretching with Ben Brown on the fence. Now doing basic agility work with another trainer. Worrysome that Hunter is at Browns rehab level of training. 

Clarry and Max doing ruck tap/roving drills. A good sight to see. 

Turner has joined Hunter and Brown in rehab. 

Salem, who has been on a limited training program in terms of not doing the contact drills, is doing warmups with the main group. Will also keep an eye on him to see if he participates with the group for the whole session including the contact stuff. 

Clarry back doing drills with McQaulter separate from the main group. Mixture of short passes, handballs or ruck taps from McQualter ending with snaps at goal from Clarry

McAdam and Melk have joined the rehabbers. They are just doing kick to kick to each other at the moment. Not sure what McAdam's ailment is but now doing the same agility exercises with Melk with a trainer. 

Brown and Hunter doing kick to kick about 35/40m apart. 

TMac just in a training singlet joining the rehabbers. He was doing warmup drills with the main group. Is wearing runners not boots. Hoping it’s a similar situation to Petty not training last week as part of a scheduled de-loading week. Spoiler Alert - it's not.

He is leaning against the fence so doesn’t appear to be doing rehab. 

Steven May is training with the main group so hopefully he is over the soreness from last week. 

Both Petty and Salem are in the main group for now. Will keep an eye on them when they do the “match sim” stuff later on because that will be a good indicator of where they are. 

Sparrow back training with the main group after a number of weeks in the rehab group. He does not look like his has skipped a beat.

Ben Brown doing 150-200m jogging along the boundary. Looks comfortable. 

McAdam doing same and does not look comfortable. 

Hunter doing the same now.

Turner and TMac just chucking the ball to each other hard. 

Petty has come from the field and taken off one boot and is sitting in the golf cart next to the weights shed. 😱

Melksham’s on bike in the weights shed. 

Petty has both boots off. Insoles out of boots into runners. Runners on. Still sitting in the golf cart. Not good. 

Petty is out of the golf cart (in runners) and talking to a trainer on Gosch’s. 

Main group split into 4 groups and doing a keepings off no contact handball drill. 

Petty now in the weights shed slowly riding on a bike next to Melksham who is powering away on the bike. 

TMac heading back to AAMI. Tight calf apparently for TMac 😱 Has been sent for scans.

JVR such a natural forward. His team got a turnover and he just instinctively positioned himself on Hore to take a mark. 

Woey and K Brown laying some ferocious tackles on a don’t arguing Viney

Jefferson lays a ferocious tackle on Billings who tried to sell him some candy. Most of his team went over to pat him on the back. 

On Billings, he has excellent skills and uses the ball so well and can hit up a target especially going inside 50. Unfortunately he tends to go missing a lot and I sometimes don't notice him for long periods of time. Having said that I think he will play Round 0 and I'd love for him to find the pill a bit more. He does look good with ball in hand.

Fullarton running laps at a good clip. McAdam running laps at more than a jog. Still doesn’t look overly comfortable. 

Petty working the medicine ball in the sheds. 

Gus has come from the field and gone into the sheds but only for a short stint and goes back out onto the field. Crisis averted.

Salem also off the fields and into the sheds but then begins to run laps with Clarry at a very good clip.

Salem, who looks super fit, has not done any of the contract drills for a number of weeks. The past few weeks he has ramped up doing the early training drills but once the tackling/ball movement drills/match sims start he hits the boundary to run laps and a good pace without breaking a sweat. Watch this space.

Melksham, Petty, B Brown and Hunter doing a circuit of ropes, medicine ball, weights and rower in the sheds. 

Verrell now running laps whilst the main group does the proper "Match Sim" rather than the full ground drill they’ve been doing. Both drills had contact but Verrell doing laps now. 

Max has total aerial supremacy in the middle of the ground. Rarely drops a mark. Playing on KFW

Match Sim starting with a boundary throw in on the wing. Max/KFW Trac/Sparrow Langdon/K Brown Laurie/ANB & Viney alone. 

Goody very happy with Kolt who was hard up on the boundary in the forward pocket with not a lot of space hitting up Spargo on the chest with a beautiful pass. 

Some other matchups. Schache on Tomlinson. Lever on Jefferson. Adams on JVR.  

The start of each portion of the “Match Sim” involves an uneven number at the stoppages either a ball up or throw in. Matchups vary as does the “team” with the uneven number at the stoppage. 

Sometimes the portion of the drill will start with a free kick on the full on the half back or a kick out from a behind. 

Woey’s foot passing is just sublime. 

Kozzy not doing any midfield work today. Neither are Riv, Bowey or McVee

Schache getting a lot of the ball as a key forward. Nibbler, Billings, Woey have hit him up on a lead with some beautiful passing. 

Chin with a beautiful kick for goal from a set shot hard up on the boundary. 

Goal kicking drills now. Variety of snaps, set shots and on the run. 

Some ruck tap drills in the middle with 3 ruckman taking turns Max, KFW & Schache tapping to Viney, Trac, Nibbler, Brayshaw, Sparrow, Billings, Laurie, Woey one at a time. 

This gives a good indication of who is in the midfield mix for Round 0.

Other potential midfielders currently in rehab are Oliver and Salem but perhaps not Round 0.

Forwards doing some goal kicking Chin, Kolt, Kozzy, JVR, Fritsch, Sestan 

At this point Spargo had headed into the sheds and was working on the ropes. I'm not sure if he had a niggle but he didn't participate with the main group for the rest of the session.

Shows just how decimated our tall forward line is with Brown, TMac, Petty, Fullarton sidelined and Jefferson's limited preseason and rawness as a 2nd yearer. Schache of course is an option but for this drill he is practicing his ruck craft.

As mentioned earlier it is interesting that Kozzy was not with the "mids" group practicing the receiving from ruck taps.

Understand that he will mostly play forward but I was hoping he was earmarked for more midfield minutes based on the past few weeks at training on a Wednesday.

Assume he will still attend some centre bounces most likely at the beginnings of quarters.

Defenders and wings doing a separate drill - May, McVee, Rivers, Lever, K Brown, Howes, Windsor, Langdon, Adams, Bowey, Tomlinson, Hore

Jefferson off to the sheds and on the bike. 

Rucks and Rovers mentioned before now doing a tap drill (Rucks one at a time jumping into a bag held by Stafford) and tap to one of 3 rovers without an opponent. 

And that’s stumps folks. 

Spoke too soon. Boots are off and runners are on so I guess they are ramping up the running loads now heading into the season. 

Petty heading back to AAMI 🤞

Clarry back to AAMI after another marathon running session. 

Now it’s stumps. Viney remains in the middle of Gosch’s with McQualter and Sparrow, Laurie, Woey and K Brown doing one on one drills from a loose ball in the ruck. 

JVR, Kolt and Trac remain on the field doing goal kicking practice. 

SLARTIBARTFAST'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

It was a beautiful day at Gosch's until the players arrived and it seemed most of our tall forwards sat out training and did little or nothing in the rehab group.  Someone's got the voodoo doll out for our talls as Turner, TMac and Verrell were all additions to this group since I last saw them and Petty did about 10 minutes and then absolutely nothing. Salem started with light drills and then just did running (mainly with Clarrie) and AMW, who had just worked his way out of rehab was back there. McAdam was also a new addition. At least Steven May did the whole session unhindered.  But the number in rehab is not good at this time of year.

The session itself was as low key as I've seen this year.  There were few high intensity drills before ball movement drills (match sim is a very glorified description) and these drills were at about 75% intensity I reckon.  Of course it's all part of the plan I guess and with matches against Richmond and Carlton not too far away perhaps it's to freshen up, who knows.

Some players to catch the eye:

Adams:  there was some high marking practice and Adams was the stand out with several strong marks against the likes of Verrell, Schache and Tomlinson.  He's got very good hands and he's come on in leaps and bounds from last year.  You'd think the third tall at the moment would be between Tommo and Hore but Adams is putting his name forward.

KBrown:  I couldn't be more impressed with what I've seen from this kid over the preseason.  He's involved, he's clean and his skills are sound but the most impressive thing is he looks comfortable at the pace and finds the ball really easily.  He's a string bean above the waist but his lateral movement is really good and he's learning what he can do and what he can't.

Viney: tried to do too much on occasions and got caught a couple of times but looks set for a really good season.

Chandler:  involved a lot and kicked really well for goal slotting a few from very tight angles. I think he's stepped up from last year and hope he can maintain his form for longer this year.

Sparrow:  did the whole session in a rare bit of good news.

Kossie:  did some really magical Kossie things when the ball was on the ground, what a shame about the suspension.

Seston:  is improving.  He's getting more involved and looks like his running has improved and he's got great kicking skills.  He was last on the track with JvR practicing his goal kicking and was doing it very well from a variety of angles and distances.  He's also getting more involved in general play but today even I could have got a kick (perhaps!)

KfW: in match sims he's against Max and just gets a lesson and he seems to have trouble judging the ball in the air to compete but perhaps Max is just too good.  But he's improved a lot since last year and he won't die wondering if he could have done more to make it.

All players had their moments.  The regular senior boys just went about their business and blokes like Howes, Laurie, Woey, Windsor and The Kolt all showed their skills but really this session just seemed to be a loosener and I'm not reading too much into it.  A prime indicator is it's the first session where Trac didn't seem head and shoulders above the rest.

I'll be interested to read others opinion as perhaps I'm being too harsh, but that's the way I saw it.

GEORGE ON THE OUTERS' PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Have to agree with all said by @Slartibartfast.

The session was just "meh", which perhaps is not unexpected given we don't want to be injuring any more players beyond the 9 sitting in rehab or doing their own thing.  And also we are getting to the serious stage, so all the hard work has been done, so to use @binman's analogy, we are probably tapering.

If we think we had forward line problems at the end of last year, when we have Petty, Fullarton and now McAdam rehabbing with Kossy not available for the first game, there should be a good argument for TMac to fill a forward line gap...but wait! He stood out the session today as well....

The backs in sharp contrast....and it is a sharp contrast....have their cup running over!  Marty Hore, Tomlinson, Howes and Adams are all looking like they could fill any holes and probably more.  But the rest of the regulars in the backline look as good as they have ever been, so where will the gaps happen?  

And I also have to agree with @Slartibartfastabout Kynan Brown.  Sharp, slippery and skilled, he will be a great option at some point...but not this year.  Like all the first year kids, he just doesn't have the strength to exist at the top level.  When you see him and Windsor stand next to Woewodin for example, you truly see what the effect of one year in the system produces from a physical perspective. 

KEV MARTIN'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Very nice morning for a run around, not too much wind and temperature is perfect. Looks to be about 32 to 34 in full training.

The drills were done with skill and precision. Mainly controlled by Taylor Whitford (VFL coach)

The occasional reference to the super-bowl appeared.

Our new young players lead the way with their skill sets. Windsor, K. Brown, rarely miss, Tholstrup if he slips up, the next action is perfect and the effort he makes is great. Setting great standards. Jefferson has worked well on his tackling, he brought a few down in the sims, taking some marks and getting separation. Sestan doesn't have a defensive game, will need to improve himself through Casey, I reckon.

They continue to rotate quite a few through the mids during sims.

They split into the lines at one stage, mids (McQualter) had Gus, Viney, Tracc, Windsor, Spargo, K.Brown, Langdon, Laurie, Max, KFW, Sparrow, Taj, Verral.

Backs (Chaplin), May, Lever, Adams, McVee, Rivers, Hore, Howes, Bowey, Tomlinson

Forwards (Stafford), JVR, Fritta, Kossie, Billings, Jefferson, ANB, Chandler, Sestan, Tholstrup, Schache.

Loved K.Brown's (untouchable), Sparrow's, (field kicking) Viney's (making links), Adam's (holding JVR), May's, (intercepts) and Max's (marking), during the sims today. Sims were run by Goody.

DEE ZEPHYR'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Popped in for the session also. Others have covered a fair bit.

Thought Jefferson was really intense with his tackling in the short match-sim, brought a few down.

Kozzie is electrifying no matter the setting. 
Billings was getting quite a few touches and delivered well into the 50.

K Brown will be a ripper I feel.

Ran into one of the volunteers after the session on the tram and asked about Petty. He said it was a slight niggle and should be ok. Petty just gets down on himself when he feels something. Hoping for a return soon.

Clarrie was great with the few kids waiting for photos and signatures afterwards. 

JONTEE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

A great day to be in Melbourne, the sun is warm, the breeze is cool, the grass is green and the footballers are out and about.

TBH those who have already reported have covered it well but...

Number of observers down from last week, probably because the schools are totally back, and no obvious media.

The difference between Clarrie this week and last week was that he was moving quicker, start off with a fast jog then sprint. Did some kicking with Fullarton and another.  Ended up with Salo running the boundary.

BBB - running the boundary, look great, then not so as he tired.  Moving well clearly building a fitness base.

Fullarton - moving well for someone who had a serious hammy; running freely around the boundary and had a kick with Clarry

McAdam - doing my type of training, walking the boundary then finished up running the boundary with Reece Conca

TMac and Disco - had an interesting drill whereby you threw the ball at the other as hard as possible from a couple of metres.  They seemed to enjoy it especially when they scored a hit.

Melky - on the bike, which I assumed was loaded, as he did like 10 sec bursts.  And one for the ladies - shirt off.

Petty - not so happy.  With a foot injury, everyone comes up and stares at your foot, even if you are wearing a boot.  What do they expect to see?  But then even I was doing it.

AMW - relentless running on the boundary.

Match sim - 30 + in it .  Schache up forward.  Windsor to play round 1 with that talent.  Kynan plays with intensity.  Sparrow looked slim next to Trac.

One of the coaches awarded Lever a free kick - thats blown his quota for the year.

Go Dees

FOX FOOTY'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS

Clayton Oliver continued to train away from Melbourne’s main group on Wednesday as the Demons superstar ramps back up to full fitness.

Oliver initially took part in centre bounces drills with Max Gawn prior to main training kicking off before the triple All-Australian did some light individual ball drills with assistant coach Andrew McQualter.

With chief executive Gary Pert, footy boss Alan Richardson and list manager Tim Lamb all watching on at Gosch’s Paddock, Oliver then joined some other Demons in the rehab group including recruit Tom Fullarton and Christian Salem for other light ball work and run-throughs.

Fellow recruit Shane McAdam, Lachie Hunter and Ben Brown were also restricted to light duties away from the main group, while Tom McDonald didn’t appear to be training at all.

Oliver and Salem later ran around the boundary together in runners before Oliver did laps by himself, with the 26-year old active for the entire session. 

There was a clear focus on running, building his fitness and general ball touch as Oliver, who appeared to be in good physical condition and generally moved well, gets back up to speed.

But some four weeks out from the AFL’s Opening Round, there’s still no update on when Oliver will be reintegrated with the rest of his teammates in full training.

Elsewhere, new Demon Jack Billings took part in centre bounce drills with the rest of Melbourne’s midfield, led by Christian Petracca and Jack Viney. Alex Neal-Bullen and Tom Sparrow were also training with the on-ballers.

Josh Schache and rookie-listed Kyah Farris-White were the only other Melbourne players doing ruck drills alongside Max Gawn with the midfield.

READ THE LIVE TRAINING THREAD FOR EXTRA COMMENTARY ON TRAINING TODAY

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