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  1. Demonland Trackwatchers Kev Martin and Demon Dynasty were once again on hand at this morning's Captain's Run at Gosch's Paddock to bring you their observations from training. KEV MARTIN'S CAPTAIN'S RUN OBSERVATIONS No-one in rehab this morning, a Captain's run, 26 players. Laurie, Tomlinson, Tholstrup, Chandler, Woey, and Kossie are out there. Rehabbers are out now. Marty, McAdam, Melky, Bowey, Sestan. As a guess for in and outs, I would say, out Laurie, Tomlinson, and Woey as they were mainly in the yellow vest in the structural sims. <--- Admin Edit: This was the first inkling we had that Kolt would be debuting Tholstrup was doing plenty off the half-forward. Chandler was running hard, giving the knee a test, no problems. There are group, maybe 20, from the area around Alice Springs (Ntaria). One of them will toss the coin at the game. The indigenous players all made some time for them. All in the MFC colours of their own club. The MFC also handed them some scarves. MFC Casey players are out now. All rehabbers have joined them, Marty, McAdam, Melky, Bowey, Sestan. Sestan has some left shoulder strapping. McAdam doing well. Accelerating with power and some beautiful shimmies and cutting lines in a handball comp/drill. No, not Marty. Trainers call him out, he wanted to be in the drills, but no. Also, not Bowey. Though they both play in the structural sims. White caps are Sestan and Turner, (no tackling). Hunter doing some instructions when the sims breaks. The squad is looking classy, rarely any errors. McAdam is looking the goods, (in the sim), running hard defensively and when attacking. Schache is playing well. Jefferson gets lost at times, needs more work on his decisions and intention. When he has space, he kills it with skills. Andy Moniz-Wakefield is in the backline. DEMON DYNASTY'S CAPTAIN'S RUN OBSERVATIONS No McAdam or Hunter Marty Hore set to go for Anzac eve Rehab just joined.... McAdam, Bowsa, Marty & Melk Sestan's also joined rehab now Hunter & Moniz-Wakefield coming on with the Casey crew Kolt ✅️ <--- Admin Edit: This was the second inkling we had that Kolt would be debuting <--- Admin Edit: And this confirmed it. Moniz-Wakefield a minor calf setback but apparently now good to go with Casey this week McAdam right to go post the bye. Possibly via Casey? The boys were in great spirits today. Big voices and energy all round. Some concerned faces and banter between Clarry and a few trainers towards the end but wouldn't read too much into that for now.
  2. Demonland Trackwatcher Kev Martin ventured down in the rain to Gosch's Paddock for the Demon Family Series April School Holiday Open Training session. Not such a good morning, weather wise. As I arrived, it starting raining, settled into watching some Victory players have a kick around. The MFC squad come out as the rain abated, they had wide smiles as the walked down the roped corridor. Plenty of joy from the supporters towards them, kids everywhere, maybe about 500 to a 1000 of us. Rehab/light duties, Hunter, BBB, TMac, McAdam, Bowey, Chandler, Melky, Sestan, AMW, Spargo, Turner. Chandler was doing enough running to suggest he will be right. I expected Hunter to be in the main group, must have had a setback. Looks like they are working on the fitness of Sestan. BBB and TMac are managed, no obvious hindrances, and the easy recovery run is usual for them. A surprise with AMW, just as we were suggesting he is nearly ready, he goes into rehab. I couldn't tell what the problem was. No Hore. They split into three stations, short kicking, a kind of soccer competition of kicking the ball down the field with finesse from outside the line, and a structured handball game. Down came the rain again for 5 minutes and then cleared. They did some structured sims. Coaches would move the ball from the forward line and set a high mark for a backman who would slingshot it off via spread and/or corridor it with links, to either a marking forward or to a forward that brings the ball front and centre. may was moving well. They had a couple of meetings in the middle. Finally, they head to the boundary for extensive signings. Great atmosphere. Some Observations from Fat Tony Hunter looked very proppy. Might have re-injured himself. Chandler looked in doubt this week with his right knee. Spargo and Turner were in rehab group but didn’t do much. AMW told me he hopes to play this week. Also said he thought we would challenge Kossie’s ban. Some Observations from Kick-It-To-Pickett Seemed to be quite a light session. Wouldn’t rule out those not completing a full session. Spoke to Maysie, he admitted his body was fairly sore. Incredible that he is playing through that much pain. A kid asked Oliver if he was playing this week. He was taken aback by it. As if he had no idea why he’d be asked the question. So, I assume we can lock him in.
  3. Our man on the spot Bendigo Demon traveled to Adelaide for our back to back games in the City of Churches and brings you his observations from the Demon's training session at Hisense Stadium. Slow start so far!! About 30 spectators, 2 dogs, and an old bloke asking security if the bar is open. Few kids enjoying a kick on the ground. Kids etc cleared off the ground, looks like things are happening. Crowd has swelled to over 100, unfortunately no coffee van, (or for the old bloke, no bar open either.) Slow start, Jake Melksham working really hard with trainers, looks super fit, players wandering out now. Tom McDonald is in runners with left knee strapped. Steven May and Clarry with main group. Clarry wearing hand guard. Ben Brown in sneakers, no sign of Kade Chandler, Shane McAdam, Josh Schache and Kolt here too. I get the feeling McAdam * might play. Lot of love for him from staff and players. * ADMIN EDIT: Shane McAdam was listed as 3-5 Weeks away in the last Injury Report. Kade Chandler in sneakers with heavy strapping on right knee. He’s limping noticeably, can’t see him getting up. Kolt, Shaw, Shane McAdam, Tommo, Bill Laurie and May all training with team from Saturday. BBB and Chin only 2 not with main group. Lots of laughter. Tom McDonald and Trac are in rehab group. I know Steven May is as tough as nails, but he still looks in some discomfort even doing just basic stuff. Tom Mac and Trac have joined main group So, apart from BBB and Chin, all players named are doing run through. BBB walking laps. Chin doing rehab stuff, very low key. BBB doing kick to kick, Chin has started that too. Trac is in cotton wool, doing 50% 60 metre run throughs. He exudes the impression everything isn’t ok. Sorry to be negative. Main group doing lots of ball handling, Tom McDonald fetching balls behind goals and kicking out etc. Clarry handling ball ok, May moving much more freely. Trac back with main group. Trac looks fine, no strapping, just not his normal self. The only people with noticeable strapping are Chin and Tom McDonald As training progresses (very casually) and the boys start handing out little footys, BBB and Chin are alternating on the bike. Clarry is in seemingly no discomfort, Steven May still seems sore, Tom McDonald did stuff all, Trac was VERY limited and had a long chat with Goody, Chin was very down, shaking his head, BBB walking ok, but not trying to do anything intense. Everybody else seemed ok, BUT, I am 58 and I could have completed that training no problem!! And that’s it for today. I will be back Wednesday for more updates.
  4. Demonland Trackwatchers Demon Dynasty & Kev Martin were trackside at Gosch's Paddock today to bring you their observations from training. DEMON DYNASTY'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Kade Chandler's left knee heavily strapped. BBB, Spargs & Jake Lever also in rehab group. Jake Bowey solo running separate kicking/sprint/agility drills. Super fine morning / early arvo at Gosch's for the boys to blow out some cobwebs. Choco initially had the light duties / rehab group consisting of Chandler, BBB, Lever & Charlie Spargo. The boys started on their own. Then Choco joined the fray, initially as an observer. He wasn't happy with their frivolity & banter and told them so ..."stop talking you blokes & watch what you're doing!" They were initially doing HB drills then 15 - 20 meter stab passes where Choco asked them to place their kicking foot down after the kick and toward the target. Everyone followed instructions except Chandler (knee issue? Or just didn't listen lol). The main group (as listed by Kev earlier) went off too the boundary to do their bungy stretchy thingies before blowing some webs out with some half oval runs They then split into approx 3 diff forward focussed drills. Much of it connection boased with kicks coming inside and / or shooting for goal on the run after transversing obstacles etc. Choco was overseeing much of it including the short 30 meter (ish) passing drills into 50. His main emphasis was on accuracy with one instruction "Perfect kicks! Every one of them is a potential goal assist. Perfect kicks!" Choco always driving and asking for high standards never grows old 👏🏼 All in all, outside the light duties group and Bowey (on his own program), all involved in the main group looked to be in tip top shape albeit some were no doubt carrying the usual bumps / bruises from previous encounters. Shane McAdam looks super fit to me and suggested such mentioning he is roughly two weeks away. First time i've seen him live and looks a lot rangier than I figured. His reels suggest he can play tall on the lead which makes sense. How is he at ground level i wonder? Lachie Hunter is one more week away and then a likely starter for Casey the following week apparently (all going well). Melk is in fine shape and very happy with his progress so far and according to WCW on track for a second half appearance (touch wood) As already noted, BBB while obviously on a light program, appeared to be moving / kicking (short passes) without hindrance. Jake Lever same and no way he is continuing through the high knee lift stepping drills if he was uncomfortable in any way imho. Spargo & Chandler restricted to light stuff and probably safe to assume Chin may not make the cut although there's another four full days before Saturday so who knows. Ollie Sestan doing alot of work both with the main group, then the lap work after plus additional stuff after everyone except Bowey had left. The FD must have high hopes for the young fella and see something special here. Tom Sparrow very happy with Saturday and playing back in the middle. Lovely fella to speak to is Tom. Caleb Windsor said he pulled up fine after Saturday also and is right to go. Had the pleasure of meeting WCW (bonus hugs!). Great gal who i'm sure has red & blue running through her veins. Fingers crossed for Saturday. Carn the Mighty Demons! KEV MARTIN'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Numbers are down, 24 in the main group. None who played yesterday at Casey are with them. Light duties include, BBB, Jake Lever, Kade Chandler, Charlie Spargo. Shane McAdam is in the main squad, as are Melky, Daniel Turner, and Lachie Hunter. Tom McDonald in runners, though full training. No Steven May. Fairly light run today, as it is the recovery session. Mainly grid work, large and small, with goal kicking to finish. Some of those who didn't play Saturday and have now integrated back into training did extra laps at the end. Tracc and Tom Sparrow also joined them. Lachie Hunter hitting up beautiful kicks. Daniel Turner looks fit. Melky into everything. Jack Viney looked like he has a small niggle. In the run throughs was behind the pack, which is unusual. Harry Petty without restrictions, was kicking goals 50 meters out with accuracy and ease. Shane McAdam and Tom Sparrow joined in as well. Kade Chandler in the rehab has some light strapping on left knee. Tom McDonald didn't do much with the group, mainly running laps. Jake Bowey working hard, running sprints, then laps. Jake Lever was lightly strapped, and did a 30 minute workout with a trainer. Looks good to go. Lever discarding his strapping post training.
  5. Demonland Trackwatcher Kev Martin and I attended the Captain's Run at Gosch's Paddock on this lovely sunny morning to bring you the following observations from the training session. Squad: McVee May Howes Rivers Lever Salem Langdon Petracca ANB Sparrow Brown Pickett Fritsch JVR Chandler Gawn Viney Billings Windsor Oliver McDonald Hore Petty Laurie Fullarton Woewodin Rehab: Bowey McAdam The team starts the session with some warm ups with Jake Lever being the most vocal of the group with the mantra being "Precision". Ben Brown in runners doing his own program. I suspect it’s all part of the plan to get him through as many games as possible this season particularly through the next block of games. Transition Drill from intercept mark off half back with no opposition (well the coaches) ending with kick to the lead of either JvR or Harry Petty. Fast and crisp ball movement always looking for a runner to handball on the outside and moving the ball through the middle of the ground. Very interesting. Seems like they were practicing tactics for stoppages and in particular using a spotter off the contest communicating the oppo numbers around the stoppage. That’s what it looked like to my untrained eye. Old school push ups for any mistake made. Goal kicking practice time for the forwards. 35 degree angle and from the pocket. Fritta nailing them all. The duality of Trac. Nailing one and spraying the next. Harry Petty was running and moving very well at training. You wouldn’t know he has had any issues with his toe/feet. Was leading and marking well albeit with no opponent/pressure. Kicking for goal from 40-50 directly in front was bang in the middle. That’s stumps on a light Captains run session. All Captain’s Run sessions I’ve been to have been very light sessions with little run and contact and usually only an hour and change. KEV MARTIN'S CAPTAIN'S RUN TRAINING SESSION OBSERVATIONS Lovely morning for the captain's run. The bonding appears to be high, they are supportive and encouraging towards each other. A good family club is not just words. At one time a mini number 25 ran to the boundary from the tent and gave Max a note, he read it (smiled) and tucked it into his shorts. Such nice interactions. Joy reigns supreme at the moment for the club. Shane McAdam was down before the squad. He was wearing his normal training top (blue one with his number) and gear. Being put through a more intense training regime than previous. He appears to be moving freely, as smooth a gait as I have seen. I can imagine, he gets a test at the next session, and will join the main squad if he passes. The main squad came out in drips and drabs. All the emergencies were with the team, 25 altogether. Partnered up for and kick to kick, until all were on, and then the whistle. BBB in runners, probably will be managed the entire season with his personal program. They went straight into drills with two stations. One, short kicks and runs, the other, handballs, quick step evasive moves, and low ball gets. Then all the squad drilled together, kick and run in a large square area to the four corners. They ran structural sims that had fast down the corridor plays. Finished the session with some goal kicking. Choco spent time with Bayley Fritsch, Kade Chandler, and Tracc as they snapped. Plenty were getting it right. Petty was also trying to hit some from outside the 50 arc, not too successful, though when he brought it in closer he was nailing them. Kossie was the standout, with Caleb Windsor not far behind in the 'beauty of kicking'. Goody is standing back a bit today, seems it is Choco's time to take it. Yells out "precision", or was that Jake Lever (loud all session). Goody runs off to AAMI immediately the session finishes. The atmosphere feels special. A trainer mentioned that a Captain's run from the Casey Squad, will be there tomorrow Saturday about 9.45am on Gosch's. We had a lovely group of 6 D/Landers, shooting the breeze, chita chatting. Thanks for that, I'm feeling part of something big. Go Dees. Addit: The Victory had a practice match on the other side of the paddock. A great morning for me, fully entertained, Woo-Hoo.
  6. Demonland Trackwatchers Kev Martin & Walking Civil War attended Tuesday morning's training session at Gosch's Paddock to bring you the following observations. KEV MARTIN'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Windy, even the Yarra has waves, warm and humid. They are doing plenty of warm ups, then a game of soccer, now run throughs. I think keeping it simple. May, ANB, Hore, Max. TMac, Billings, Sestan, on modified programs. BBB, Spargs, Turner, McAdam (own program, talking to Whelan) in rehab process. No Hunter, Melky, or Verrall. Max, TMac, BBB, Spargo, Billing, left the field early. May, Sestan, ANB, Hore, all running. Sestan last man running, and Alex practising goal kicking, the rest of modified group have left for the sheds. 26 full training (Petty as well), the drills are close kicking and handball, one with low ball gets and an element of competition. 30 minute run and they are back to the sheds. Those who did not play Sunday are running laps, all 7 of them. Looked like McAdam was doing a little work with Spargo. Both in the blue uniform of the rehab and were wearing runners. They just handballed the ball to each other for ten minutes. Spent about ten minutes talking to Whelan. It really wasn't much of a run for many of them. I reckon they were doing more work in the gym today, or working intellectually on their strategic roles. Last weeks session I saw McAdam, he was doing ball work for the first time in ages, and drilling using sharp change of directions. I believe they will be ramping up his work load now. If his body holds up, I can see him ready in 2 to 4 weeks. His aim will be to tick the boxes. Addit : To get my handle highlighted and for me to get notification, I believe after you type the @, the names in a box appears after you type a few letters of name. If you click the name you want in that box it highlights it in blue (profile name) and will notify me. Second Addit: He may have done the run throughs with the main group, as WCW alluded too, though I didn't notice. WALKING CIVIL WAR'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Methinks I’m the only DL-er here(?) Anyways, the boys just came out on the ground. The mood is absolutely awesome! Everyone is smiling and everyone has a distinct spring in their step. L They’re all doing the stretchy band thing right now. Tmac and BBB and Jibba are separately doing different stretchy band exercises with a trainer. I told BBB and Tmac how immensely proud we all are with their performances on Sunday. Big smiles all round. Then I hear a familiar voice calling out “Oi” Turned around and it was Clarrie. I said “Oh my god Clarrie! You killed it on Sunday, that was sooo good!” He said, “it was, wasn’t it? It was sweeeeet!” Then he says, “how’ve you been anyway?” 😳 I didn’t even answer him. I just gave a thumbs up coz WHO THE HELL CARES HOW I AM?! 😅 Bowser was doing lotsa leg exercises and now he’s kinda playing kick to kick with two trainers. The only player I can’t see is Knuckles. Doesn’t mean he’s not here, could just mean I need to go to Specsavers. i just heard Jack, one of the trainers, telling Bowser who was on his way back to the rooms: when you get back, you can join the boys, the main group. I pounced on the opportunity to ask Jack how Bowser is tracking. He said, “really good. A week post-surgery and he’s coming along great.” it’s a big ol’ happy fest here! Maysie, Marty, Nibs and Ollie Sestan are running laps. Everyone else over the other side of the ground doing intense handball drills. It’s a joy to behold. Up And At ‘Em McAdam has got ‘treatment’ at 12:30pm. I didn’t ask what sort of treatment coz personal. I do have a bar set in terms of questions, it may be so low I trip over it, but it’s a bar nonetheless. 😄 Ok so they all just came back to the tent from the opposite side of the ground. For the entire walk, Goody had his arm around Chin. He was talking to him all the while and Chin was grinning like a Cheshire cat. They’ve gone into the rooms. Thought they’d be coming back out but they’re done for today. When I was leaving, Kolt, AMW, Matty J, Jed Adams (I thanked him for re-signing), and Ollie were still out on the ground doing sprints. I asked one of the trainers why this was so. He said “the VFL boys need to get some run in their legs.” Imho Kolt didn’t look like a VFL boy.
  7. Demonland Trackwatchers Kev Martin and Dee Zephyr wandered down to Gosch's Paddock on Saturday morning to bring you their observations from the Captain's Run in the lead up to Sunday's Round One match against the Bulldogs. KEV MARTIN'S CAPTAIN'S RUN OBSERVATIONS Rehab is out early. A beautiful Saturday morning, though plenty of dew on the paddock Verrall doing hard sprints along the boundary. McAdam individual program and has started, ball work, change of direction drills, and easy kicking and handball. Melky, carrying weights as he changes direction. Hunter continues his running program. Melky has joined him for some runs through the middle. Hunter is struggling to keep up with him (will need a block of conditioning). Captain's run cannot be far off. Verrall last session at Gosch's, looked like he may do a full training, though started with a test in rehab which he didn't pass. Was working on his hip, and stayed with rehab. Gus is greeting the squad with applause and cheers from them. He is wearing the coaches colours. Looks like they have appointed him in an off field role. Laurie is not with the squad. Strange isn't it. Not sure what is going on! When Choco called for forwards to have some goal kicking, BBB went behind the goals to kick the ball out to them. TMac definitely with the backs. Max also doing plenty of work with the backs. Salem with the mids. Howes and Rivers did some stoppage work high on the wings. Chandler was kicking well at goals. McQualter taking most of the structural sims. Goody taking the stoppages. Looks like they are looking for quick plays down the corridors, by hitting the inside players, short, middle or wide. Hore looked nervous at the start of the drills. Woey seems to have slimmed down since the start of the preseason, moving well. Kossie was forward and on song, looking very good, and extremely focused. There was a mob of the players wives and kids on the sidelines. They were really happy about TMac (dad of three), he ended his session rolling around with his kids. Max had some strapping on his lower left calf. Moving well and involved in everything. Tholstrup and Viney cannot stop tackling each other. Melky finished his session, tackling the bag, then attacks a ball put in by a trainer (plenty of intensity). Going about it well, head down, keeping a low profile, doing the team stuff. Certainly not as animated as previous years. DEE ZEPHYR'S CAPTAIN'S RUN OBSERVATIONS Brayshaw is here. Tholstrup the only emergency training. Bowey and Spargo walking laps. Kicking and handball drills along with linking have been met with some real sharpness in their short duration. Brown hasn’t joined in a couple of the drills and is doing solo work (snapping at goals, short handballs) with a couple of trainers. He looked ok to me, moved well during drills. He was very chummy with some of his teammates, especially Kozzie.
  8. Demonland Trackwatcher Kev Martin braved the scorching heat on a public holiday to bring you the following observations from Training. The set up, is being put up, for an 11.45am post review training session. 32 in the full session. Rehab: Spargo (runners and singlet), Turner, BBB, and Verrall (looks to be a test). Hunter doing his own program. Bowser in the arm sling. May looks fine. No McAdam. As they gathered, they gave Melky a round of applause, he is doing drills with them as well. Petty is also drilling. Verrall has not joined the main squad. Looks to be working on his hip, and running laps. So happy for Melky to be back in full training, the same for Petty. They are training hard, and the voice levels are high. Plenty of support for each other, hand slapping cheers, and 'that's what we want' calls. Drills started with running and kicking, then gather and leads, some competitive handball drills, now talls marking and smalls in two groups, low ball gathers, and breaking tackles and lines, in competitive handball. Sims are on, and Melky is off, running hard sprints. Plenty of spread and switch, and making overlaps in the midfield, but still delivering to a crowded forward area. They are now sprinting up and down the paddock, team running. Langdon putting time into K.Brown with instructions about wing roles. That looks like the end of the session. A few stay out. Tracc, Farris-White, Colt, Billings, Salem, Fullaton, JVR, AMW, kicking goals under supervision of Choco. Woey, ANB, Laurie, ball handling. Hore and Viney, kick to kick. Oliver from the centre kicking to a leading Petty. Oliver now goal kicking. Last on the track is Melky working with two trainers, direction changes with ball handling. McAdam is not at training. They haven't broken into their 'lines' yet. Woey was looking good, nothing extra from coaches. We didn't take it on through the middle. They want them to be quicker and not make errors. They want the smalls to stand and/or break through tackles. They are working on Petty's fitness. Going very slow with Hunter. Not bringing K.Brown in till he is sure of his role. Viney and Colt have a thing. Goody loves Clarry. McQualter works the recovery session. They are loading. Stafford was micro managing. They didn't move Into their lines. As a guess, it will be Salem to replace Bowser. The wingers run into the forwards space pushing the halves into the congestion. The strategy was during sims, so unsure if Stafford is the designer. He is more about the leading patterns. General fitness, push them after the 4 day break. I assume the trainers know how to get the best out of them. Used the trigger word, sorry for the confusion. I wouldn't know if they are in a 'loading' program. The trainers worked them hard, sprints after the sim. A little gusty, but not effecting them. Most difficult is the hot wind draining them. The water volunteers were working very hard, constantly sprinting to groups as the whistle for the change-up rings out. Great, moving well, I think still underdone fitness wise. Completed the training with extra runs and sprints. Must be a temptation to bring Petty in and lock him around the forward goal square. Appeared happy. BBB in rehab, no running, mainly stretching and simple ball handling. Yes, he has looked ready as soon as he started with us. They must be working on him understanding the roles. Great that he had a few centre bounces with Clarry in the Casey games. Can only help his development. Today he was hitting his targets and no fumbling, all the new young ones have improved the standards at training. The only ones showing some rust, were Melk and Farris-White. Sestan was getting plenty and finishing well in the less defenders sims. Jefferson couldn't get into the sims game, looks lost and needs support on where to position himself. Adams blanketed Fritta during sims. Deep forward looked like Sestans role today. Yet to see him work off the backline, but have seen him as a high half-forward at trainings. I think they will keep Laurie in as they continually used him as a linking player in the sims, though would love to see Tholstrup in, but could be Woey. Chandler was quiet but Goody seems to favour him. Billings in for him wouldn't be far fetched. Spargo out, Salem back, kossie mid/forward. Fullaton has to be a chance to replace Schache. Cannot think of anyone else who knows the backline system, and bringing in another green player alongside Howes could throw it out of kilter. Agree totally about his kicking as a mid, and I really would want him to play on the ball. Who else at this stage can take on the small opposition forwards? I believe McAdam had a hammy problem a few weeks ago, just after the calf came good, he had always been running short distances in his individual program at the trainings. For him to be absent, was unusual. AFL indicated McAdam has nerve issues effecting hamstring and will train away from main group as Mon Bon and titan_uranus mentioned. https://www.afl.com.au/news/1085531/hamstring-issue-to-further-delay-melbourne-demons-shane-mcadam-season-start Jed Adams is ready to go if he gets a call up.
  9. On the eve of the 2024 Season I ventured down to Gosch's Paddock for one of the final preseason training session before we head up to Sydney to take on the Swans. Here are my observations from the training session. The session was light and despite it being a Saturday was akin to a Monday/Tuesday session following a regular season weekend match as we played on Wednesday night and the boys had a couple of days off after the Practice Match prior to the season proper. Main Squad: May, JVR, Salem, McVee, Trac, Windsor, Viney, Lever, Gawn, Clarry, Billings, Langdon, Laurie, Bowey, Schache, Tomlinson, Jefferson, Howes, McAdam, Rivers, McDonald, Adams, Hore, Verrell, ANB, Fritsch, Sparrow, Fullarton, Petty, Kozzy, Chandler, Sestan, Tholstrup, Woey, K Brown, KFW, AMW Rehab: Brown, Spargo, Turner handballing in triangle. Hunter just arrived in training T-shirt and runners. Will keep an eye on what he does. Not present: Melksham & Smith Woey who I reported as having strapping on quad after Casey game is warming up with main group as is McAdam & Petty High Performance Manager & Head of Strength & Conditioning Selwyn Griffiths taking the boys through some warm up jog troughs McAdam has split from the main group and is doing 200m run through on the boundary as he’s been doing the last few sessions I’ve been to. Petty moving very well 😀 Selwyn Griffith is kicking the ball to McAdam far and high in the air and making him run to it. Moving much better than I have seen in a number of weeks. Can’t be too far off returning to the main group. Now McAdam doing some lateral movement ground ball drills. Reckon if he gets through today he’ll be training with the main group next week. Brown and Spargo doing rehab together. Transition/Interception drill. Simulating opposition kicking from our half forward to half back and we intercept and transition through the middle to hit up one of our forwards. Lots of long handballs. Out numbered amount of opposition in white bibs to simulate pressure from oppo. 2 separate groups simulating this drill on either side of the ground. Selwyn kicking the ball to McAdam on the lead out of the pocket. McAdam marks and kicks back to Selwyn and then has to sprints back to position by zig zagging out of the way from another trainer applying blocking pressure. Petty now left the main group and doing 200m sprints. I don’t think there is anything nefarious to it. Probably easing back into the main group. Hunter has not done much except throw the ball back and forth with one of the trainers. Worrying signs for him to not be running. Gawn and Langdon heading back to AAMI. No idea why. Neither looks hampered. Most of the boys having shots for goal now. May and Lever having a chat with Chaplin. I think that’s stumps. Light session of just over an hour. Selwyn kicking the ball high up to Petty who is being manned by Stafford and another trainer and Petty needs to lead and get separation from the two. Moving & jumping very well. Petty and McAdam last ones on the track working with the Selwyn. Both have been getting high 5s from assistants and trainers. Both seemed to have ticked off some boxes today. KEV MARTIN'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS A nice late morning run, good temperature with a bit of wind about. They are out of the sheds and walking down to Gosch's with smiles on their faces. The review about Wednesday must have gone well. The three of Kossie, McAdam and Moniz-Wakefield walk with Wheelan from a different area. Great to see Petty with the squad, Fullaton, Woey, Clarry and Moniz-Wakefield as well. McAdam did the warm-up with them. Petty building his fitness with extra running after the drills. Rehab was all split up into different programs for different levels. BBB, Spargo, Turner, Hunter (in runners but doing very little), no Melky. The squad is looking good, there was a great atmosphere about them today. It appears they are happy with the preseason being over and ready for the season to get going. They had a low-key recovery session run today. The main drills were two groups, one with the mids starting on the goal side of centre, (via a tap down) then moving the ball by handball and finding a forward who were running set patterns. Three opponents against about nine attackers. Then they changed to using the other direction. The other one started from the back of centre (via a kick towards that direction), with the backline spreading, finding a runner with a kick and hitting up a forward. Then again repeating towards the opposite goal, it also had about the same numbers of defender as the previous squad. I heard Goody say if you have any doubt of where to run, head towards the straight line corridor, and don't hang out for the angled inside kick. Plenty of kicking for goal. Many doing what Tracc does and having shots after the session has ended, mostly the young ones, but also Kossie, and Fritsch. Chandler was not hitting them well, still with the yips. Ended his shots with three bad misses, then walked off. Really needs to work on his art and get it right, I reckon.
  10. I headed down to Gosch’s Paddock this morning for the Captain’s Run in the lead up to tomorrow night’s practice match against the Blues. The squad that took the field was indicative of the lineup for that match at Ikon Park. Likely Selections based on the groupings of players at the Captain's Run today at Gosch's Paddock. Main Group: Gawn, Viney, May, JVR, Lever, Petracca, McVee, Windsor, Billings, Langdon, Bowey, Schache, Rivers, ANB, Fritsch, Sparrow, Chandler, Kozzy, Laurie, K Brown, Tomlinson, Howes, Salem Casey Group: TMac, KFW, Sestan, Tholstrup, Hore, AMW, Adams, Fullarton, Verrell, Jefferson, Weowodin, Clarry Injured Players: Melksham (Knee), McAdam (Calf), Hunter (Calf), Spargo (Achilles), Petty (Toe), Smith (Suspended), B Brown (Knee), Turner (Stress Fracture) --- of these players Melksham, McAdam and Petty were on the track early. Others may have been but not when I was there and I was there 25 mins before the start of training. Early on the track: Melksham & McAdam Melksham having shots at goal from 50 McAdam running laps as is Melksham now. Just on McAdam and his injury. I went to training over a month ago when McAdam was jogging along the boundary presumably after he first sustained this current injury and was just beginning his rehab. From my untrained eye he does not look that much further along in his recovery. Granted at that time he looked uncomfortable and today he didn't look uncomfortable but I have no idea how far away he is from returning to full training. That first training session I reported him running laps could have been a few days ago. Melksham looked fitter and more ready to return to training than McAdam in my uneducated opinion. To quote the Castle "It's just the Vibe". I have no medical training and I don't know if there has been a relapse or recurrence of the injury or perhaps that's just how he runs so make of that observation what you will. Can see Petty in Red walking back to AAMI Main group hits the field. No Clarry in the group but Salem is there. The final practice match is indicative of the Opening Round lineup so I’ll go out on a limb and say Clarry won’t play in Opening Round. Having said that, Kozzy is training in the main group and will likely play in the Practice Match but is not available through suspension for the first match so there is a position up for grabs. No Verrell in the main group so assume that Schache will be the backup ruck. Salem looking fit and sharp. Square drill player kicks to a player at another point on the square who marks and handballs to a running player who kicks to another point of the square etc. repeat Skills for the most part look sharp however there is very limited contact/pressure in Captain's Run sessions. Players on witches hats shaped in a diamond running and handballing to another player at another point in the diamond culminating in a player receiving and having a ping for goal on the run from 40 out. Split into lines: Centre Bounce: Max, Viney, Trac, Langdon, Sparrow, Salem, Windsor Backs: May Lever, McVee, Bowey, Howes, Rivers, Tomlinson Forwards: JVR, Schache, Kozzy, ANB, Chandler, Laurie, Fritsch, Billings, K Brown Tactical drill without tackling. Very quick ball movement end to end. Skills look sharp but no pressure. Drills starting from different points of the ground. Most starting off with Bowey. Other drills starting from a ball up or throw in. Very uneven number of players in white singlets as the opposition. Most of them the coach and assistants. Seconds doing some basic drills on the rugby oval next door. Clarry in long sleeves despite the warm morning heat. Looks like the main group is winding down with forwards having shots for goal. Couple of mids are doing one on ones from a tap down from the ruck. Couple of the defenders lining up to either have the ball drilled into the from Chaplin from close in or kicked high in the air. That’s a wrap. Easy Captain’s Run session on the eve of our last Practice Match. Most players have gone back to the rooms. Trac, Viney, Chandler, Windsor, Howes, Fritsch, K Brown, Kozzy & Bowser having shots for goal. Baring any hitches the 23 that trained today will be the starting 23 tomorrow night and with the exception of Kozzy (and fingers crossed no injuries) will likely be the 22 for Opening Round. With Kozzy out of OR there is a spot up for grabs so perhaps it could be Clarry. Also someone could impress in the 2s tomorrow and claim a spot. KEV MARTIN'S CAPTAIN'S RUN OBSERVATIONS Beautiful morning for a run, minimal wind, and the day has a little crispness to it (started warming up as the session progressed). They weren't showing much joy as they went about it (to be expected, Gus and other issues). I was told that earlier on, Petty was having a run and a kick. McAdam's was running harder with his program, and Melky was working well in his rehab (no strapping). Good to see that Fullaton is ready to go, as was TMac who were in the VFL squad (no Casey players). Starting 23 out there for a simulated captain's run. Looks like K.Brown is a forward. Originally was trialled as a mid and Tholstrup as a forward. I reckon K.Brown is seen as progressing stronger than Tholstrup and so gets the chance. Hope they rest, K.Brown in the 4th quarter tomorrow and give Tholstrup a late run. Given that the others didn't join the 23, however I assume the game will be only the 23 that ran out today. Goody ran most of the session. Great to him him using his whistle, and getting heavily involved by structuring/voicing what he wants. Usually he delegates more often to the others. Nothing like an up and about Head Coach. They were switched on in the drills, plenty of noise, and excellent skills. Really enjoyed seeing the small fwds working on and executing lovely passes into the tall fwds by Billings, Laurie and Kossie. Thought Fritsch fumbled the ball and missed some easy goals today. JVR is ready to hit the big time. Schache was one paced, though no errors. Had a discussion with a fellow supporter who reckons (I agreed), Tomlinson could play well up fwd, though unlikely. May clumsy and losing his feet (could have been the sun in his eyes), hoping he can get his 'mojo' on, which he had in previous sessions. Salem looking strong, training with the mids, plenty of composure, energy, and run. Windsor moves so well over the ground. Viney, on target to be the best I have seen of him. Tracc still with some anxieties when kicking set shots for goal (appeared to have). Two out of three hit the right spot. No contact at all. Last time I saw any tackling drills was ages ago, and the tackling during sims has been diminished/less impact. They hit each other hard prior to the Christmas break, now more about the defensive structure, run and transition. I am a bit worried as we have not done this type of drill in order to prepare to be 'hard'. Hoping, they have been working on it in the closed areas. We cannot drop our early games otherwise the media will get on the 'going backwards bus'. Tomorrow is not as important as the away trip to Sydney, but gee I hope we bring some tackling pressure. Go Dees
  11. On the eve of the Dees first practice match for the 2024 season a couple of Demonland Trackwatchers bring you their observations from today’s Captain’s Run at Gosch’s Paddock. KEV MARTIN’S CAPTAIN’S RUN OBSERVATIONS Looks a a dress rehearsal Captain's run. 23 out doing drills. Included is Will Verall, Kynan Brown, Bailey Laurie, Caleb Windsor, Blake Howes, Adam Tomlinson, Kade Chandler, Jack Billings and Josh Schache. Rehab include BBB, Tom Fullarton, TMac, AMW, Woey. Not included in this group are Clayton Oliver, Christian Salem, Charlie Spargo, Angus Brayshaw, Shane McAdam, Matt Jefferson, Jed Adams, Marty Hore, Harry Petty, Koltyn Tholstrup, Daniel Turner and Kyah Farris-White. … The second team players have now turned up. No shows. Daniel Turner, Charlie Spargo and Harry Petty. Shane McAdam is doing his own program. Clayton Oliver is also with the second group, as are a few Casey players. The seconds are in red or blue guernseys. The captain's runners are wearing red. In red in the seconds are, Oliver, Farris-White, Jefferson, Salem, Sestan, Hore, Tholstrup and Adams. Seems Casey are in the blue. Lovely morning for a run, overcast, no wind, cool temperature. It's a captain's run of 23 players strutting their stuff. It looks like Kossie will be able to play. Interestingly they are giving some first yearers, new and young ones a go at it - Verall, K. Brown, Laurie, Windsor, Howes, Chandler, Billings and Schache. They appear switched on in the drills. Goody has implemented a few different scenarios in the no contact sims. Once he called a “power play”. Pushes a backmen forward of the stoppage, gets the wingers to be wide ('will only work if you are very wide') and they take the ball straight down the middle from a backline stoppage. Another drill had them receiving the ball on the inside corridor and hitting into the forward area. I can see us playing with a more open forward area this season, or at least at times and using a bit more strategy during the game, as we change the styles up. Keep them guessing Dee's. Forgot to mention that Angus Brayshaw was also a no show. Great to see all the rehab do some sprinting drills and were included in the team drills with the seconds (except McAdam and Jefferson). Woey wearing the yellow concussion protocol hat. Oliver made his way to most of the Casey players. Those Casey appeared a bit star stuck and Clarry introduced himself, shook hands and encouraged them. Nothing highfalutin about him. The Casey players did the drills well, looks like most of the younger ones. I'm impressed with Tyler Williams, Ryan Valentine, Charlie Muley My prediction is, year of the Tom Sparrow. Hit some great passes, looks fit, appears slim downed, and I reckon, will run through brick walls. Hoping Jared Rivers will also continue his trajectory. Caleb Windsor has learnt so much in his short time with us. Interesting to see how he goes, I reckon he will be a class above. I really want to see K. Brown. Reminds me of Robbie Flower body shape, very elusive (cannot be tackled), has great vision, uses/changes the angles and has skills. Hope Verrall has got what it takes. Big game for him. Another no show today was Melky. WERRIDEE’S CAPTAIN’S RUN OBSERVATIONS Bowser, Trent Rivers, Judd McVee and Blake Howes arriving now. Adam Tomlinson, Steven May and Jake Lever join them. Just kick to kick atm. Tom McDonald has arrived. Frittata and Roo have arrived. Tom Sparrow and Bailey Laurie join in Ed Langdon, Trac K. Brown, Josh Schache, Kossie, Kade Chandler, Jack Viney, Max Gawn, Nibbler, Jack Billings, Caleb Windsor, Taj Woewodin and Will Verrall arrive. Tom McDonald just told me that he’s right for the Carlton game. The group are doing agility drills. McDonald and Woewodin kicking away from the drills. Ben Brown, Tom Fullerton and Andy Moniz-Wakefield arrive Woewodin is out with concussion will be back against Carlton Now kicking and handball drills McDonald Woewodin Fullarton jogging laps It’s only just a guess but the players training in the main group will play tomorrow meaning meaning we will see K Brown and Verrall Ball movement has been impressive very fast Some Casey players arrive with Kyah Farris-White, Jed Adams, Christian Salem, Ollie Sestan, Matt Jefferson, Marty Hore, Clarry and Koltyn Tholstrup. B. Brown Fullerton and AMW are playing keeping’s off. Forwards and mids kicking for goal while the backs do marking and kicking drills The seconds are training now. McAdam jogging laps. The seniors are done. Woewodin doing drills. Todays been non contact so it’s understandable why he’s doing the drills AMW in the drills as well B. Brown also the drills as is Fullarton - mustn’t be too far away. Even Tom McDonald is now in the drills The only ones that are not participating are McAdam and Jefferson who is having shots at goal. Jefferson just told me they are adjusting his loads that’s why he’s not training but will play in the reserves AMW, B. Brown and Fullarton should be available for opening round the only concern is McAdam who seems a fair way away from returning to the team McAdam told me he should be right round 2 the calf niggle is not as bad as he first thought The reserves are done and dusted TOUGH KENT'S CAPTAIN'S RUN OBSERVATIONS CLAYTON IS BACK!!! Clarrie will play in the seconds tomorrow. From the Captain's Run: Senior squad for tomorrow: May, Roo, McVee, Trac, Windsor, Viney, Lever, Gawn, Billings, Langdon, Laurie, Bowey, Schache, Thommo, Howes, Rivers, Verrall, Nibbler, Fritta, Spaz, Kozzie, Chin. Gus and Spargo nowhere to be seen. Didn't sight Hunter, Petty, Melks, Disco Turner. Shane McAdam did very slow runthroughs on the boundary line. The rest, including Clayton, Salo, Marty Hore trained with the Casey boys when the seniors finished up. TMac, Browny, Andy Moniz-Wakefield, Fullarton, Taj Woewodin all did stuff away and with the main group. I spoke to these boys and they all hope to play in the next week or two. CHECKOUT THE PRESEASON LIVE TRAINING THREAD FOR ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS AND CONVERSATION
  12. Clayton Oliver was integrated back into the main training group today for the first time in 2024 after completing a 2km time trial. FriendlyFellow, a new Demonland Trackwatcher hit Gosch's Paddock on a hot and windy morning to bring you his observations of the session. Disclaimer: Saw on the socials they were down at Gosch’s Paddock so headed down for a quick look. Little to no presence of other track watchers and no current live thread, so as a first time contributor, giving what the people need! It won’t be as expansive and comprehensive as what we’re used to… but it’s something. Conditions: Hot and windy (no explanation needed). Training Format: Tailored match sim; line grouping skills; running.. and lots of it. Observations: Tailored Match Sim: Offense orientated simulation. Focus on transitioning the from defensive wing to forward 50. A team forwards appeared to play on the A backs, with Midfielders having cross representation of personnel. General observations – We still bias to target kicking into the pockets. Attempted to lower the eyes on several occasions to get into the corridor, but the defensive group were strong at intercepting and pushing the rebound. Goal kicking was accurate in windy conditions. Clayton Oliver – completed his 2km Time Trial pre-session and was fully integrated with the main group for match-sims (so yes, first session back with the group). Previously was on a modified running session program separate to the others. Had plenty of the ball in match sims. Was great to see close to the start of the season. Josh Schache - appeared to be the A forwards, along with Bayley Fritsch and Jacob van Rooyen. Assume he’s in the starting line up whilst Harry Petty is out. Was a key target on the long kicks into the F50. Kozzy Pickett – so active and such a livewire in the FWD line. Was the most dominant and damaging player. Jack Billings – genuinely looks to add class synergy in D50 and F50 connection. Jacob van Rooyen – not quite as big as May (direct opponent), but is the closest thing we have to a big bustling forward. His development this year will be so important. Adam Tomlinson – looked very settled in the A defense team. Played a lock down defensive role on Josh Schache. Jack Viney and Trac looked very silky in the midfield, as did Tom Sparrow. Other observations on the mids were challenging… I’m bamboozled by the detail you guys can provide on the mids at training. They all look the same to the untrained eye. Line grouping skills: Only observation was that Caleb Windsor and Ed Langdon were with the defenders. Perhaps Caleb Windsor is the emerging winger for Prac Games if Lachie Hunter remains out? Running: Various running drills, split into running groups that have been well documented on previous threads. To my surprise, Kolt was in the second group, albeit on a modified program - clearly has some speed and tank to build on in coming pre-seasons. Started to feel nauseated watching the efforts in the conditions so decided to call it a day there. Anticipated and frequently asked questions: Harry Petty was not partaking in training – stuck to the side with a ball in hand. Christian Salem was on the track and fully training in at least the match sims and line grouping skills. Lachie Hunter & Tom Fullarton were on a modified running programs sticking to the boundary line. Fullarton was doing some larger kms so looks to be recovering well. Don’t have a comprehensive list of non-trainers, so would only be guessing - which I want to avoid! That is all I have. Enjoy! CHECK OUT THE LIVE PRESEASON TRAINING THREAD FROM TODAY WITH FURTHER COMMENTARY
  13. 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
  14. Veteran Demonland Trackwatcher Picket Fence made his way down to Casey Fields on Friday to bring you his observations from Preseason Training and the Match SIM. PICKET FENCE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS NO SHOWS & REHAB Petty, Melks, Hunter, Fullarton, Jefferson. Not sure I saw Salem Clarry and Verrell both doing a POWER OF RUNNING and [censored] does CLARRY look mean, fit and PUMPED MATCH SIMULATION NOTES Full match simulation of 4 quarters of which I saw 3 quarters Windsor ... an abslute LOCK for round one, really surprised me with his turn of speed, precision set ps and pin piont disposal, might become our best ball user and Wow has he got some X FACTOR Disco Turner ... probably the best I have seen him in match sims, deft movements, a turn of speed and makes very sound decisions Jack Billings ... another LOCK for ROUND 1 just uses it so well, makes excellent position and his decision making was fantastic Shane McAdam … took not 1 not 2 but 3 MARKS OF THE DAY, will complement Fritta magnificently, just knows where to position himself, very very dangerous around goal and will be an absolute SURPRISE packet Ed Langdon ... HAD IT ON A STRING , Elusive, quick, precise and typical Langdon run all day Andy Moniz-Wakefield ... Again I mention him and although quieter later was heavily involved of the back flank, wing and anywhere else, CAN PLAY Spargo … The Salt and Pepper man was in everything, played very well and bobbed up all day Taj Woewodin … A lot to like, gets involved is fearless and sets up the play very very well. One to definitely keep an eye on Kynan Brown ... Just NEVER GIVES IN, just gives and Gives with second and third efforts, good skill set and elusiveness Schache Did some very good things took some marks, was very competetive with Max and although overshadowed, I can ALMOST see him playing round 1 based on today ONE WORD SUMMATIONS Max Outstanding Kozzy Freakish Tomlinson Belongs Viney Beast May Fearless Lever Methodical Tracc Superstar A lot going right, very high standard game and one which should give the selectors plenty to think about in the coming weeks. BRENNO'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I headed down to Casey for a few hours this morning whilst I was “out seeing a client” 😉. It was hard to tell who was who on occasion as a lot of them didn't have numbers on the jumpers and were wearing caps. So go easy if I botch a few things here. I’ll do my best to share my observations. I arrived around 9.40 and the drills were underway. Clarry was running at a solid pace for most of the session and according to the man himself he thinks he is a “couple of weeks away” from joining the main group. Will Verrall did quite a solid amount of running along the boundary with Clarry and didn’t look far off. Viney wasn’t participating in the drills when I first arrived but joined shortly after and played through the entire match sim later in the session. Whatever he limped off with the other day clearly is no issue. Fullarton also jogged for about an hour and didn’t seem to be uncomfortable but was at minimal pace. Salem was hanging around near the interchange bench for a while during match sim, but he did not train at all to my knowledge. I didn’t see Petty, Bowey, BB, Hunter, Melky, or Smith at all. They may have been on the far side of the ground from me or inside on the bikes, but as far as I can tell none of them participated today. Jefferson participated in a few drills, but I didn’t notice him after the first 20 minutes. There were about 30 mins or so of ball movement drills before the good stuff started! Match Sim was made up of 3, 20 minutes “quarters” and there was AFL Umpires there to officiate. The teams started off with what seemed to be a mix of the best 22 and depth players on both sides, with the starting backs lined up on the starting fwds. Having said that the blue team was clearly stronger through the middle, even with Gawny and a few others on team white. After the first 2 “quarters” there was a changeup in teams and the blue team was stacked with our likely best 22. Interestingly ANB, Billings and Thommo all lined up in for the white team. Some interesting inclusions on team blue included Windsor on the wing and Howes and Macca playing down back. Macca looks fit and held his own today. Thommo and Disco might be stuck in Casey for a while longer it seems, although both did some nice things. Our key defensive depth looks great … The key forwards on the other hand look very thin. Roo was quiet today but is a great focal point when moving the ball forward. However as good as he is as a target, we really need another Key Fwd to step up or it might be much of the same in 2024. There seemed to be a focus on scoring quickly and coming from behind in this period, The white team were given a 30 odd point lead for the blues to hunt down, which they did comfortably. At one point during match sim Laurie received the ball during a center square stoppage and blasted it forward in a hurry. Chappy then yelled out, “Connect Bill, Connect!” I liked this as it shows they are working on a major issue we have had for the past 2 seasons. A work in progress but at least a sign they are addressing it. I was pleasantly surprised with our game style today, I thought the ball movement looked much faster then previous years and they used the corridor quite often too, this had mixed results but that's to be expected. Although Blue dominated the session, I must say there were some good signs from our younger brigade and depth players. All the draftees took part in the match Sim and showed signs of what they could become. Really liked Kolts energy and attitude, a future leader in the making IMO. Kynan had some very nice moments and looks like an absolute work horse, just goes, and goes. And Windsor…. Ill get back to this lad. Taj lined up in quite a few CBAs and did some nice things when faced up against our starting Mids, He really stood out to me today, as did Laurie. Positive signs aside, Gawn, Track, Viney & Gus were our starring 4 for blue at this point, and they looked levels above the opposition. Overall, the standard was to good watch and I left with optimism for the season and our future with our youngins all showing a bit. Just some notes on individuals: ANB - Undoubtably starting 22, he was BOG for white by a country mile IMO. Great player for our young players to watch and learn from. Kosi – Everything he touches turns to gold. He really stands out with everything he does. He does stuff that no one else on the list can. Track - looks to be in extremely good nick and was just a powerful beast all day. Viney - Seemed completely unhindered to me and at times untouchable. Kicked a very nice goal during match Sim. Gus – Looks to be fine after his big knock. Played a mix of halfback and midfield. I really like the look of him in the guts and should stay there until Clarry is back IMO. Track, Oliver, Viney, Gus should be our priority mids in 2024. Elite! Windsor – I will be shocked if he doesn’t play round 1. It’s the first time I have seen him play live in any form and he looks like a ripper. Used the ball well, ran hard to give and receive, competed better than expected in the contest and just looked like he belongs. I may have just caught him on a good day and his consistency might not be there yet, but I am a fan already. A shoe in to take Hunters role, just a matter of when. Sparrow – I know some on here are big Tommy fans, but from what I saw today he is in danger of losing his spot to one of the young and hungry up and comers if he doesn’t improve. He just seems to have stagnated. Taj, Kynan, Kolt, Lauire could all push him out if he is not careful. Schache – Never been a fan of this bloke, however I must admit he impressed me today. Got bullied a tad in the ruck Vs Gawn but that’s to be expected. He shouldn’t have to go up against many starting rucks at AFL level and from what I saw today he may well be our backup ruck/fwd this year. He had a great moment when he competed in the ruck with Gawn, smothered an attempted clearance kick then followed up with a big tackle locking it in. The boys and coaches loved it! Laurie – Thought he was a mile off the pace in his AFL games last year but looks to have stepped it up bigtime. He found a lot of the ball and looked clean, calm, and effective. Howes – Not sure if he will play down back in the AFL but during the drills and match sim he had moments that made you take notice. The kid can play, just not sure how he gets a look in. McAdam – Took a few BIG marks, one on poor old Gawnys back. He must be getting sick of that! McAdam will add to our forward line potency for sure. He didn’t get a huge amount of it but he was impactful. Looks the goods. Spargo – Looks super fit and was his creative self. Big fan! Lever – Loved his voice and leadership, I still think he will be our captain one day. Gawn – Dominated the ruck and was never out marked as expected. Today did highlight how badly we need to ruck depth ASAP though. Anywho, it was a great morning, and I am excited for the season to start! I’ll do my best to answer Any questions you lot may have! GO DEES! WALKING CIVIL WAR'S UPDATES FROM THE DEMON ARMY Maysie and Vines are training with the main group.👍🏽 Schache attack going really well up against Maxy. Caleb Windsor will play in opening round (that’s a lock-in 😂) Clarrie has been running all morning. Looking good but still has a ways to go. The match sim is underway right now, after which the boys have a “HUGE running session” lined up, according to one of the training staff. (They’re gonna just luuuurve that! 😅 especially Maysie who recently told me he [censored] HATES running) It seems it’s the ‘A’ team vs the ‘B’ team. B team actually holding their own. Caleb is in the A team. Kolt is in the B team. TMac in the A team. Apparently it’s a case of “Windsor… Wow. Just wow.” He and Tracc together = amazing A QUICK OBSERVATION FROM MATT DEMON Steven May (who left the main group on Wednesday due to general soreness and ran the rest of the session) came off late and didn't look comfortable. Tried a couple of run throughs and shook his head. He spoke to the trainer and went inside. What this space I reckon.
  15. 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. DEMONLAND'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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. KEV MARTIN'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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. DEESPENCER'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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. WAYNE WUSSELL'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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! JONTEE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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 FOLLOW ALL THE OTHER DISCUSSION IN THE LIVE PRESEASON TRAINING THREAD FROM WEDNESDAY'S SESSION.
  16. Demonland Trackwatchers Picket Fence and Joeboy made the trek down to Casey Fields on Monday morning to bring you the following observations from preseason training. PICKET FENCE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Conditions very hot but plenty of shade. NO SHOWS OLIVER, BBB, SMITH, FULLARTON, MELKSHAM MODIFIED DUTIES HUNTER, PETTY both on the bikes, and later JEFFERSON and VERRALL running NOTE SALEM, MONIZ-WAKEFIELD all back in FULL TRAINING! TRAINING DRILLS MANY AND VARIED 1 One on one full stoppage simulations and hemming opponenent in at boundary. 2 Random player ground ball gets and then precision passing to leading forward option. 3 Rotating forward entries from centre transitions to forwards leading with one on one defenders as checkers spoilers. 4 Whole ground manoeuvers from back to forward. PLAYER WATCH SCHACHE Standout player today for mine took several strong contested grabs against quality defence May and Thommo and perhaps the penny has dropped about being more hungry and aggressive at the ball. Mc ADAMS Um sorry I don't buy this fitness lacking thing , he is an excitment machine who figured in goals and knows where to run and go. WOEWODIN Continues to improve and looks confident and strong. JED ADAMS Looked pretty composed by hand and foot and could surprise. BILL LAURIE Trained very well and generally disposes well, but I'm not sure he has the X factor needed. KOOYONG KOLT We have a goodun in this guy, punches well above his weight and at one stage provided 3 pressure acts in a row and resulted in a turnover. A lot to like. MARTY HORE For some reason he just looks like he's ready to go, works well into a contest and disposal is very sound. ANDY MONIZ -WAKEFIELD Some serious X Factor, involved and very skilled in linking up. As you would expect MAX, LEVER, MAY, THOMMO, RIVERS, KOZZY NIBBLER, et al all trained as seasoned pros. HIGHLIGHT... A drone was hovering over Bowsers head and he thought swatting it was a good idea, got close but no cigar. Funny to see though. Drills are a lot more corridor based and feature the ability to a) Select the best option in traffic b) Execute skills to best advantage. Its coming together and the intensity is definItely obvious. N.B Not sure I saw Trac!?? JOEBOY'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I attended my first preseason training this morning in hot and breezeless conditions. I’m not a big fan of training techniques so I’ll concentrate on some observations on individual players, and let others comment on set plays. My initial observations were very pleasing: TMac has certainly changed his body shape (and hairdo) looking much lighter and running comfortably; Adam Tomlinson is generally not noted for his agility but a dedicated summer of training sees him looking lighter and quite fast too. Koltyn Tholstrup looks and trains like a man on a mission and his repeated efforts certainly don’t go unnoticed. Jake Bowie has muscled up and his kicking was a weapon Trent Rivers looks supremely fit and continues to give the impression he’ll play more midfield time this year . Not overly impressed by the fitness of Shane McAdam who seems to be coming from a fair distance behind the others in fitness Harry Petty likewise to Shane McAdam seems a fair way off match fitness, understandably.
  17. 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. SLARTIBARTFAST'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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. GAWNDY THE GREAT'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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. BLEASY AS THAT'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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! BACK POCKET'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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 STINGA'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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. MATT FORREST FROM THE HEARLD SUN'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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 DAVID KING'S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS 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. MEANWHILE OUT AT GOSCH'S PADDOCK .... DITCHA ON CLARRY WATCH 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.
  18. GEORGE ON THE OUTER’S MATCH SIM OBSERVATIONS Training at Casey...what could be more of a simulation of winter football conditions....wet, raining, windy....yep it's the middle of summer, but no sunscreen required. Even @picket fence 's slippery mates would have taken the day off and retreated to more habitable locations. Advertised as a match simulation session, it was hard to draw any conclusions or real observations. This was because of the absence of numerous player for whatever reason, or players who were on some sort of restricted programme, or just plain injured. As a consequence, there were numerous Casey listed players filling in, but obviously getting plenty of good experience themselves. On the sidelines, we know about Jake Melksham, and of course no Clayton Oliver or Joel Smith. Christian Salem, Jack Billings & Tom Sparrow were just running laps, with Sparrow looking to be the one doing it at full stretch. No sight of Lachie Hunter, BBB, Shane McAdam & AMW, while Matt Jefferson walked on and off the field to physio areas. Every year it is a concern when players aren't on the track post Christmas break, and you can utterly guarantee for every week they are not there, you can take a week off the season for them. With 11 missing out of a list of 44, it’s not good! There was all the usual warm-up's and drills but the match simulation was the most important. But, as said before, what can one take from it with so many sidelined? What could be taken away were things like: TMac playing permanently in the backline. For those that have been around from when he played their last, be prepared for much of the same. Indecisive about where the ball is going, strong marking, but watch out for the kicking. One wonders how he will find a hole to fill with Steven May, Jake Lever, Adam Tomlinson, Daniel Turner, Trent Rivers, Jake Bowey, Christian Salem, Jed Adams, Marty Hore, Blake Howes all vying for the back 6 positions. Blake Howes and Disco Turner are going to be putting up their hands fairly soon for a role in the senior defensive structure, and both stood out on multiple times during the sim. But don't discount Adams, who probably is 3rd in line, but having built up considerably in the off-season is showing some real promise with genuine football skills. Interestingly, Judd McVee was playing further up the ground, and found himself taking shots at goal at one point, so maybe the coaches have something more planned for him. Harry Petty was back for the drills, but didn't compete in the sim, likewise Angus Brayshaw, and to a certain extent Max Gawn, who came back for only a short spell in the sim. Probably to give the backups some time for assessment. In this respect Will Verrall is streets ahead of Tom Fullarton, and I suspect Fullarton will only find a role as a forward....although we need plenty of those options given the situation at the end of last season. JvR almost took mark of the year reminiscent of the one Michael Roach held on to many, many years ago, but unfortunately he spilled it in the end, but he truly was sitting on top of the pack to attempt to take the ball at waist height. If he connects something similar in the season, he will be taking home the MOTY easily. Kozzy Pickett spent the whole session in the middle, and like most years, nobody can lay a hand on him. He just dances through traffic when he has no right to do so. And with questions over Clayton Oliver, both he and Bailey Laurie can expect more opportunity in the engine room. ANB gave a clinic on how to kick to the opposition when under no pressure. So no change there. Rivers was magnificent to watch as he streamed from HB and delivers accurately. Kade Chandler was very involved and seemed to be on the end of numerous chains. But he was also active in contested situations, so maybe a mid-field rotation role might be on the cards in season proper. Taj Woewodin showed glimpses of what may be possible, but with these types of simulations and with tackling and pressure not at the levels of AFL games, it is difficult to judge. Still he looks more and more like his old man, and is obviously benefitting from the training programmes. I know people will ask about the new draftees, but sorry, not much to report. They after all are just starting out and some of the Casey players show more, simply because they are stronger, fitter and accustomed to the speed of the action. Just give them time. And don't expect to see them playing any time soon, unless we hit a huge injury problem. That's all from me but wait for @Six6Six and his photo's to appear, as he was busy with the telphoto lens and should have some great shots of the action.
  19. A plethora of Demonland Trackwatchers were out in force to bring you their observations from the Demon's Preseason Training Session out at Gosch's Paddock. DEMONLAND'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I’m at Gosch’s Paddock today and I will attempt to bring you a running commentary of my observations. NO SHOWS: Clarry, Smith, Ben Brown REHAB: Lever, Melksham, Salem, Jefferson, Andy Moniz-Wakefield BLUE: Trac, Brayshaw, Fullarton, Verrell, Hunter, McVee, Sestan, Woey, JVR, Sparrow, May, McAdam, K. Brown, Laurie, Chandler, Turner, Bowey, Tomlinson, Howes, Hore, Yze in #46, Billings in #48 WHITE: Viney, Max, Nibbler, Farris-White, Schache TMac, Adams, Rivers, Kozzy, Spargo, Petty, Fritsch, AMW, Tholstrup, Langdon, #44 (may be Windsor) I’ll just be giving observations of players and not in depth description of drills. They have separated into 3 groups rotating different warm up drills. Adam Tomlinson is looking super fit and skills are sharp. Always impressed me at this time of year. I was critical of Bailey Laurie’s skills last season but he looks to cleaned them up. Has been silky. Trac is an absolute beast. 2 separate keeping’s off/tackling drills going on. 5 players not involved; Angus Brayshaw, Kynan Brown, Daniel Turner, Koltyn Tholstrup, Tom Sparrow (all still doing their own tackling drills but importantly, Angus Brayshaw doesn’t have a “do not tackle” hat/bib on) 4 Rucks/Talls doing a separate drill - Tom Fullarton, KFW, Josh Schache & Will Verrell. JvR is a Monster. Match SIM about to start. Tholstrup walks to position into the forward pockets and hip and shoulders an unsuspecting Turner. Love the kid. Caleb Windsor will play this season is my hot tip. Skills, class and composure. Lachie Hunter is back training in full. Does not look hampered at all by the recent calf niggle. Jack Viney training the house down. Koltyn Tholstrup will also play this season. I have no doubt. Ben Brown has entered the building and doing kick to kick with Tyla Hanks on the boundary. As reported in previous training report TMac is a defender. Blake Howes playing deep on Shane McAdam. Trent Rivers and Kozzy running through the middle. Hore on Fullarton Adams on JVR JVR just took a magnificent contested mark against TMac. TMac made some good spoils in defence. Very impressed with young Noah Yze. Looks a dead ringer for Nick Daicos. Let's hope he is half as good. Will most certainly be drafted by the Dees as a Father/Son. Is built like he could already play and has some height and will still have a season in the U18s and then a preseason. A lot to be excited about. Tom Sparrow not taking part in the match SIM and has joined the rehab group. He participated in all the group training prior. Adam Tomlinson on Harry Petty Steven May on Fritta Great spoil from May. His spoiling and intercept marking is top notch. His short passing not so much. Jake Bowey also playing through the midfield. Koltyn Tholstrup has just kicked the last two goals from outside 50. One on the run and one off one step. Shane McAdam can play and has a fair leap on him too. Tom Fullarton with some agile moves breaking tackles and selling candy. Have I mentioned that Jack Viney is a Bull? JvR JUST ABSOLUTELY CRUNCHED VINEY IN A TACKLE. VINEY GOT STRAIGHT BACK UP. Great tackle from Kozzy. He is in great nick and is super fit. Christian Salem despite being in rehab and doing separate training with a trainer looks to have slimmed down and looks very fit. Blake Howes is another who looks the goods and should play this season. Excellent hands, reads the ball well and has beautiful weighted disposal. Jake Bowey just executed a pinpoint pass to the advantage of a lead from JVR. I would love to see Bowey delivering more into our forward 50 this year. Bayley Fritsch's defensive work has been beautiful. Some good strong tackling. Maxy's marking is as always very clean. Jake Melksham’s rehab looks to be very far progressed and he is looking super fit and has bulked up in his upper body. I'm excited by what we could get from Jack Billings. He has very clean disposal and constantly hits up his targets. DEESPENCER'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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. Jake 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. Tom 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. Harry Petty was in full drills early then taken out. Lachie 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 Trent Rivers, Jake Bowey and Judd McVee. I was impressed by Bailey Laurie’s quick skills at times but he's a guy who takes it on and will make the occasional error. Harry Petty was in the drill and looked strong and agile. Riv and Judd McVee have great moments of burst off the line. Shane 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 Jack Viney, Kozzy Pickett, Charlie Spargo in white and Tracc, Bailey Laurie and Jack Billings in blue. With Caleb Windsor and Kynan Brown on one wing and the starting wings on the other. The first period was high class. Blake Howes hit up Bayley Fritsch with a couple of beautiful kicks. An Ollie Seston dart in to corridor found Tom Fullarton and on to Jack Billings then Kade Chandler close to goal. Charlie Spargo hit up Jack Viney charging through the middle, who spread it wide to Caleb 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. Will Verrall nailed Charlie Spargo in a tackle. JvR out marked Jed Adams and Tom McDonald 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 Shane McAdam. Then it was more 2 way handball. This time it was Blake Howes, Gus and Jake Bowey in the orange bibs. I noticed Bailey Laurie in pink going both ways in the other group. And then handed over to Jack 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 Bayley 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. 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: Blake 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 Koltyn Tholstrup: 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 Caleb 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. Jack 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. WAYNE WUSSELL'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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. Shane McAdam came off second 'beast' when trying to block a rampaging Trent 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. Bayley Fritsch slung Jake 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. Blake Howes and Caleb 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. Tom McDonald is fitter than he has been since 2021. He is match ready, wherever he plays. Charlie 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 Tom Fullarton again. We have a live one there! He is athletically gifted and shows the 'clevers' with ball in hand. Max Gawn 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 ... Jake Lever tutoring Matt Jefferson on marking technique and Melksham advising Shane 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! SLARTIBARTFAST'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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. Noah 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. Caleb 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 Shane 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 Jack Viney and Trac. I saw Harry 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. DEESPICABLE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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 Shane 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 Caleb Windsor's commitment in the air to spoil Kade 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. Charlie Spargo played down back and I don't mind this except that when he's in the same side as Jake Bowey and Judd 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 Marty 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. 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 Shane 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. SCOOP JUNIOR'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS 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 Jake Lever not training and Steven 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. Bayley 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. Jack 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 Lachie Hunter and Jack Viney but both are not long kicks and the former almost invariably looks for the 20-30m chip option. Christian Salem - just did running on the side but I agree with others, he did seem noticeably leaner than last year. Koltyn 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. Steven 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. NASCENT'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Blake Howes hitting up some beautiful passes in the corridor. Tom Fullarton being used quite a bit across the mid part of the ground. Decent field kick despite his kicking action. Is lined up against KFW Koltyn Tholstrup really getting involved and looks dangerous on the half forward line Maysie and then Trent Rivers defending superbly Jed Adams has a very nice left boot on him Think Jack Billings will be a lock for our 22 if he stays healthy Maysie telling Kynan Brown to watch the ball after he fumbled it, was aware that Fritta was bearing down on him and subsequently got bowled over. Fritta again bring good defensive intent, tackling an unsuspecting Bailey Laurie for a turnover in attacking 50 TMac's hair is worse in real life Steven May a rock, dominating the air Blake 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. JvR has impressive size, mainly playing deep and leading up or contesting 30metres out. Haven't seen him get up much past the flanks. Caleb Windsor back with flight and spoils a certain Kade Chandler mark and goal Match sim over, now goal kicking drills. Caleb Windsor, Angus Brayshaw, Jack Billings, Ed Langdon, Kynan Brown and Taj Woewodin doing 1v1 work on the wing with the ball knocked to them as if from a ruck contest. KEV MARTIN'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Hot morning, minimal wind, general impression is they are working well as a unit, and the intensity was there. Most were out early, teaming up in various groups. Some goal kicking, others running and direction changing carrying water filled bottles, rucks were drilling together. Rehab, Lever (later on the bike with Melky) in runners, not really training, but helping Jefferson out. Melky still doing leg exercises to strengthen the injured area. AMW running with Mentha. BBB down for a short run, Salem working very hard by running extensively. Sparrow did everything except the sims. The scoreboard is up and running. Whistle goes and they are into it with minimal warm-ups. They are into 3 stations, exercise, handball, and short kicking with good execution. Competitiveness starts with 2 handball games. Some have yellow bibs and start out of bounds, they then run on into the game, and attempt to break lines. McQualter runs one group. He appears to love them winning at what they do, really encourages them to win and be hyper-competitive. When they had a break it was Woey who did a fair bit of talking, McQualter took a back step. The sims were next. The attackers were very good at first, but as they tired, the defenders started to dominate. We look good when we spread, and when they get the overlap with smart play and good timing. Interestingly, they ran a few through the on-ball position, Langdon, Laurie, Spargo, Gus, Hunter, ANB, Billings, Rivers, Kozzy and Bowey and the usual players. They ran on the Wings, Hunter, Langdon, Windsor, K.Brown, and Woey. May dominated with his reading of the play. Max is looking fit. Spargo missed a few easy passes, but his excellent tackling made up for it. Fritsch was tackling well and seems to be honing his defensive game. JVR creates competitiveness when the ball is forwrad, also taking a few marks and creating separation on some leads. Chandler getting front and centre. McAdams in the forward area and doing well, had a head clash which seemed to have slowed him down. Then into goal kicking. Williams moved the mannequins out near the 50 to challenge them with longer kicks, not too successful. Finished with running. At one stage in the goal kicking Tracc was dry retching, later during the running he left the field for the sheds (unusual) escorted by training staff. Couldn't tell if it's a soft tissue injury, as his gait is always a bit funny. I expect he was suffering exhaustion, due to the training load and the heat. JONTEE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I went down to training and even with old man eyes JVR was a standout from over 300m away. Has much playful competitive energy too. A reasonable crowd there to watch, even a kid in a Pies jumper; certainly a change from 10 years ago when there wasnt many more than a fella in a rain coat standing next to a tree. As I walked the boundary I heard some very familiar DL voices so I propped there for awhile and listened to the chat. Just a few of my observations; Bowey forward having shots on goal; Lever giving an instructional drill whereby you start with your back to the play then turn quickly to get the ball; Jefferson lying on the ground with someone on top and trying to get up; Salo just jogging forever with no sweat; Melky looks great. And they did this drill where you shake your hands in the air and run forward as if wearing flippers. Looked damn silly. Saw Richo and Perty as well. Go Dees DEMONWHEELS' PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Seems like there were lots of Demonlanders there today! It was certainly a good crowd. I was there as well for about 30 mins while the full ground drills were taking place and have to agree with most of what has been detailed already. Probably the biggest take-out in terms of players was Billings. He was busy and was getting the ball to distribute into the forward 50 consistently, ensuring his kicks were to leading forwards and to their advantage - low and hard. But for the most part I came away a bit disappointed with all other entries heading into F50 as most players in possession would virtually send a long kick into the forward line as soon as they passed the middle of the ground, giving defenders every chance to spoil and not really using the extra players around them to just get 20m or so closer and allow for a second lead (or even a proper extended lead) from the forwards. Still feel it was a bit ‘kick and hope’ in most scenarios and didn’t feel there was a discernible strategy going in BUT keen to hear from others who were there if they saw the same? I understand it was not a full match sim so maybe it wasn’t a focus but surely we should be taking every opportunity available to improve that aspect of our game. TRAINING THREAD WITH EXTRA COMMENTARY
  20. KEV MARTIN'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS It's a wet morning, ball is like soap to a few. Rehab had Matt Jefferson and Lachie Hunter working with a trainer, ball work and fitness drills. Kyah Farris-White mainly running laps. Jake Melksham and BBB in the sheds with the pedal and rower. Jack Billings, AMW, Shane McAdam, Harry Petty did all the drill work with the team but didn't participate in the sims. Angus Brayshaw worked with the backline and was wearing the lime cap (no contact) during sims. That line also included, Judd McVee, Steven May, Jake Lever, Adam Tomlinson, Jake Bowey, Jed Adams, Marty Hore. Interestingly, not Trent Rivers, Christian Salem, or Blake Howes. They worked very well as a group, good ball handling and disposal for a wet day. A run on indigenous player wearing number 49 was with us, as was Noah Yze. I thought Christian Salem was training well, fit and skills remain silky. After their warm-ups and drills, they had a competitive game of handball. They showed great intensity, tackled and hit each other with some gusto. Impressed with Fritta’s tackling, a couple of times he did two consecutive and other times wrapped up the ball carrier. The area was small, so shimmy and acceleration was needed to do well. Some have that ability to break into space where it is not obvious (McVee, Kossie), or the vision to see the outside player (Tracc, Bowey). I also noticed Goody getting angry, (first time I had noticed this behavior at a session), after the end of the handball game. Another watcher mentioned that Williams did the same. Perhaps the coaches aren't going to be so chummy this season. The playing group appeared slightly stunned by the outburst and went quiet. ('this way covered, that way covered, should XXX take the first open option.'). The sims were unspectacular given the weather, plenty of safe kicking and jostling for that front position. A few soft injuries to Jake Bowey and Steven May in collisions. Blake Howes and Will Verrall are both looking good while Tracc is leading by example, getting better and better. Daniel Turner is also looking good. A bit of a backline shuffle and he may have a chance, though Marty Hore is also doing everything well. Koltyn Tholstrup, because our list is stacked, may have to earn his way in, though he has the passion and the ability. Caleb Windsor still needs a bit more development. I don't think he is up to the speed of an AFL game yet. Has the ball skills required. I reckon he needs more strategically understanding of the game. Bailey Laurie continues to develop, looks like a big improver, though may have to get a break so as to claim a spot. Got a feeling if given a chance he will perform. Taj Woewodin - I am uncertain about, looks a little slow out there. Has great composure when he has the ball and is looking alot bigger. I reckon Trent Rivers will be a mid. Plenty coming through into the backline. Christian Salem could just be training without much pressure on him. Getting back into the game, with some freedom. Therefore, not in fully with the backs. As for Blake Howes, could be looking at the wing. He has a light kinda of stringy frame/body and is probably not ready as an in and under player. Angus Brayshaw was training with the backline today. No Clayton Oliver. They were kicking goals well in the wet during drills. Plenty of fumbles all through the session. I think today's session was very much about being 'hard'. Had to leave early, so I haven’t got a comprehensive report for sims. We are looking good, healthy, fit and dare I say, ready, so early in the season. Go Dees. SLARTIBARTFAST'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I ventured down a bit before 9.30am and missed the start of training. They were doing the usual drills and some short kicking. As reported Lachie Hunter and Matt Jefferson were doing repeat run throughs which seemed to go on for a good hour. KFW was doing his own running but the good news was Harry Petty did most drills other than the match sims. Fritta was in full training. Shane McAdam was held out of match sims and there was no sign of Benny Brown. Joel Smith, Clarrie and Melk were no shows. I'm also not sure if I saw Tommy Sparrow, I thought I did early but didn't notice him during the session so I'm hoping another trackwatcher can clarify. The match sims are of major interest to me and as you know it was just dreadful conditions. It rained heavily for most of the session but did ease off towards the end. I didn't notice any major changes in game plan from last year other than there is no long kicking to the forward line but this is as much to improve entry inside 50 than a permanent gp chance. It was the same last year. There were a few players that I really noticed. Judd McVee handled the ball beautifully in the conditions and found time to hit up teammates regularly. He won contested ball, stood up in tackles are was one of the highlights for me. I think he'll take another step forward this year. Didn't play midfield at all so I think we'll see him off halfback. I was impressed with Will Verrall in the pre Christmas training and he did nothing to change that view today. He's very good below his knees and his contest work was good. He marked well in awful conditions and his kicking is fine. He could end up a good KP player the way his is going and not just limited to ruck where he is perhaps a bit small. I'm not sure where he fits in but there's a fair bit there to look forward to and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a go at some stage during the season. JvR was another standout. He looks to me to have put on some real size and really imposes himself around the ball. He marked well and was his usual competitive self when the ball hit the ground and on my viewing so far he has developed well from last year. He has a real presence about himself now and is imposing in a way he wasn't so much last year. I was also impressed with Tom Fullerton. He played mainly down the other end to where I was but seemed to be involved in a lot of play. He might surprise this year. But best on ground would have to go to Trac who is just so strong and clean. Found the ball with ease, did some freaky things and frankly just looked a class above, which he probably is. Kynan Brown was involved a bit but got caught on a number of occasions trying to do too much. Rick Lever was in everything and Steve May didn't let his opponent get a touch. The small forwards are going to be an interesting watch. Spargs, Kossie and Chin were all involved today, Nibbler did his thing, Jack Billings and Shane McAdam are contenders and the Kolt just looks like a footballer. The other to impress today was Blake Howes. He's tall, well over 190cm I'd think and he's got a lot of good attributes and looks the most likely to do a "Juddy" this year although where these kids play and who's spot they take I don't know. All in all it was a good hitout today but it wasn't done at AFL pace except for patches of the match sims. I'm looking forward to next week and seeing them in better conditions. WALKING CIVIL WAR'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Harry Petty: wouldn’t even know he’s carrying an injury 🥳 Kolt: fast mofo. Runs like the wind. Disco: bulked up quite some. Training hard, giving it everything. I just spoke to KFW. I commented on his height (freaking tall) and I told him arm/upper body days in the gym have paid off. He said “yeah, I’m hoping to hit 100kgs.” HE MENTIONED HIS WEIGHT!!!! Don’t tell the AFL 🤫 Jack Billings is wearing #48, like I’m not already having trouble telling players apart. Chocco doing tackling practice with Harry Petty and the noobs. Yelling at them… a lot. Lachie Hunter walking up and down the boundary line. Not limping or anything but looks a little dejected. Meanwhile, Shane McAdam is running laps by himself. KFW also training separately, running along the boundary line… I asked Shane McAdam if they’re treating him well. He said, “yeah, they’re treating me very well, they’re really looking after me. It’s a great club, this.” Stick that where it fits, Cornes. The older players are amazing when it comes to interacting with the young blokes. They yell encouragement to them, not just whenever they do something really well, if they don’t do so well they let them know it’s not the end of the world. Soooo cool to hear “yours, Ooze!” Jack Billings and Marty Hore were running together along the boundary line for quite a while. I just heard Selwyn say to them, “you’ve both done your high-speeds, yeah? Now it’s onto aerobics.” Re: Whether Shane McAdam is carrying an injury - He said no injury or niggles. He said it’s purely to get his fitness level up. I told him he has come along in leaps and bounds since his first training session with us in early December. He was pleased to hear that. We had a good chat. He loves our Club and “everything about it.” Then HP35 came over and they told me how Shane McAdam will be under Harry Petty. Shane said Harry has his back 100% and he won’t let Harry down. What struck me most is their rapport. They clearly get on so well together. There’s a mutual respect for one another. It was awesome to see. WAYNE WUSSELL'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I dropped in just in time to witness the 'seriously' injured Lachie Hunter (post amputation) zigging, zagging, passing, running, and smiling his way through some rehab with Matt Jefferson and a trainer before tackling some 150 metre boundary runs... no major problem there, HS! Everything WCW said about the weather was understated! I was inappropriately attired (I need a Mum!) and only lasted 45 minutes before trudging back to the car and speeding home to a change of clothes and the Test Cricket. While I was there I was impressed with the application and energy of the whole squad (minus 13) in appalling conditions. The ball handling was excellent, considering, and the ball movement was speedy. I was once again impressed with the development of Will Verrall in the use of body in the 1 on 1 aerial contests. Having said this, Steven May and Jake Lever were a class above. Tom Fullarton displayed excellent ball handling in the wet and good pace when bursting free. Harry Petty looked good in these physical contests, I would say he is on... WICKET!!! ... excuse me, where was I? ... Harry Petty is on track for the season opening in my opinion. Bayley Fritsch also looked to be back to full involvement in the ball movement activity. Interesting to see Angus Brayshaw train without headgear. He also looks cherry ripe! Christian Salem looks sharp and fit. I didn't recognise number 49, and I can't recall seeing BBB.
  21. PICKET FENCE'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS NO SHOWS Clarry (More later), T.Mac, Joel Smith, also didn’t notice Koltyn Tholstrup, also not sure I noticed Trent Rivers, Tom Sparrow was doing laps as well. REHAB Christian Salem (Running laps), Jeffo (On Bike and weights), Melky Bike, weights and some sideways manoeuvers. Jake Lever ( Did what looked to be a minor leg injury and spent rest of session on the bike! Lachy Hunter did a mammoth running session and ball work at full speed and looked unhampered by his calf injury.Andy Moniz-Wakefield laps SKILLS , DRILLS and MANOEUVERS, I’ll leave the small drills out and you get the idea of multitasking, just concentrating on small group drills, ball, skills and interweaving patters focusing on correct options and correct disposal. These open and Clozed drills are more of less similar to others that I have reported for all of my traing reports. Discrete nuances of slight differences seem to keep things charged up and would also alleviate the potentiality of same old same old. Main Match Sims There were several components of each of the following 4 training drills 1 Running in waves selecting correct handball , kick and creating excellent options using ground space and alternative entries into the forward half from transitioning out of defence 2 Precision kicking to multiple targets on the lead. 3 Stoppage work near goals and either resulting in players kicking goals or creating avenues to rebound out of defence. 4 Whole ground transitioning using a lopsided manpower whereby the white shirts were outnumbered 10 to 18 With Red shirts running in waves. What this meant was the defence were outnumbered many times so had to choose to run to the player most likely to receive from the ball carrier. This was interesting in itself and players rotated through Red shirts and White so everyone had an even go of defender or attack. PLAYER WATCH Jack Billings Put on a clinic today, was in everything and his astute positioning , skills and polish were phenomenally good. Kyah Farris-White A quick learner, looks to be developing some skills, Pace and decision making. I thought some of his grunt and efforts were good today! Kynan Brown Will of the wisp, but quick hands, elusive and explosive pace, Might surprise a few early here. Taj Woey Looking like he belongs, has taken some incremental confidence into this year and links up well on the move! Disco Turner I know I haven’t been a fan but he looked composed in defence and took a couple of good grabs and ran well out of the rebound. Blake Howes, Likewise to Disco Turner looks like settling and created some good ball use movements Josh Schache Took some great CONTESTED Grabs and also played well as ruck around when required could be a surprise packet this year Adam Tomlinson, well I thought he trained outstandingly well today looked a complete and competent defender. Marty Hore, Played bigger than what he looks and I thought was excellent on the Half back Flank. Shane McAdam IS A FREAK,!! Just knows where to run, is stealthy, crafty and will make a HUGE impact this year. Caleb Windsor Well I can see why we drafted him, full of class, and excellent by hand and foot. Will play games this year! The usual Cast of Spargy, Kozzy, Nibbler, May, Tracc, Gus and BBB also were significant. Final word goes to Noah Yze. ON WHAT I SAW TODAY, he is a monty to be drafted by us, has skills, speed and is a very very good player already! TRAINING HIGHLIGHT FRITTA near centre of the ground, gathers the ball, CRASHES NOT 1 BUT 2 TACKLES and layed the ball off. VERY CLARRY LIKE. Now just to get the great man back!!! FINAL THOUGHTS It remains to be seen if we have fixed our forward entries and conversion rates, some relatively easy shots just miss, but it is the just miss that bothers me. In close game like last years finals and just goal or just miss can make all the difference. Great to see 100 or so people enjoying training INSIDE the ground for a change, nice one MFC cheers to all P.F Forgot to mention HARRISON PETTY, BACK IN FULL TRAINING AND LOOKING VERY DANGEROUS UP FORWARD!
  22. Veteran Demonland Trackwatcher Picket Fence once again ventured down to Casey Fields to bring us the following observations from the Demon's Preseason Training Session. NO SHOWS Didn’t notice J.V and Chandler, Bailey Fritsch but they may have been there! INJURIES MODIFIED DUTIES MAX, CLARRY, GUS (Although he was doing plenty of Running), THOLSTRUP, PETTY (Who also ran for the first time!) SKILLS , DRILLS AND MANOUVERS After warmups and Run Throughs, players broke of into Groups doing a variety of Close in Handball through traffic to hit clean target with players pressuring. One on one Groundhog Day ground ball gets. Telescopic Talls in Marking contest situations Pressure the ball carrier, two meters away closing fast to kick to a lead. Match sims ( See below for details) Half ground transitioning including stoppage work on both boundary side wings and emphasizing manned positioning and quick breakaways using precise handballs to break out of traffic and finding leading player on lead or further handball, chip kicks to favored positions to free up play and present scoring options closer to goal. Red vs Whites, this also had an element of keeping the ball in forward line and using lateral movements and handball before finding a target. So, it was as much about forwards and positioning and defense creating a chess like impenetrable phalanx! PLAYER WATCH AND MATCH SIM TOM SPARROW I mean wow just wow this guy is ready to launch, has confidence picks great options and really will excite through the midfield this year. LACHY HUNTER Has lost weight and dare I say it has picked up a yard of pace, was involved in plenty and looked rejuvenated and classy. JACK BILLINGS, Classy ball user who always hits targets and linked up beautifully today, will play major parts in games. SHANE MC ADAM The missing piece in the forward line puzzle, just oozes class, goal sense and links up magnificently, can also take a hanger and a half KOZZY, Just mesmerizing today total excitement machine SPARGO Yeah righto , he was really good today involved linked up and kicked a few goals and was busy. MONIZ-WAKEFIELD Starting to find his feet was involved in a lot of link ups and used his pace and skills to great effect and could be a surprise early inclusion if he keeps this form up. ADAM TOMLINSON Used his pace to run of the back half and set up many plays. JED ADAMS, I took notice of him a couple of times with great run of Half back and also astute ball use. Looks a player. MARTY HORE Looked right at home of half back, is an intercept king and used the ball to advantage. He could also get an early look in. CHRISTIAN SALEM I’m sure it was him ( remember I’m on the other side of the fence) and he looked really good unhampered by recent injuries and looked fresh, pacey and involved with effortless and crisp disposal. JOSH SHACHE, Took a couple of really good, contested marks and converted effortlessly, I hope he has improved enough to make the difference and looked particularly good today. KYAH FARRIS WHITE Rucked well today and looks like if he develops a bit of mongrel could be a hell of a find. TRENT RIVERS Looks like Mr. Universe with his swagger and relentless attack on the ball. FINAL THOUGHTS T. Mac wasn’t bad in defense and training levels were up from last week I thought. Ball movement was quick , precise and forward entries were purposeful and effective. Given some of the exhilarating and exotic weaves out of defense and forwards moving to effective scoring positions this training session said a lot to me about the increased pace and intent to rectify past deficiencies which have sabotaged our last two years of finals performances.
  23. Veteran Demonland Trackwatcher Picket Fence endured the sweltering heat on a windy day out at Casey Fields to bring you the following Preseason Training Report. Blustery day at Casey, Ground NOT OPEN?? and the only other people I saw were one bloke on the far side and another Man and Woman also watching around the south Goals, had a small pair of Binoculars but looking through the fence was problematic. NO SHOWS Clarry, Kade Chandler, Petty, and Melky REHAB GROUP Gus, Salem, Bailey Fritsch, and later ……. Koltyn Tholstrup! A group of young players including Caleb Windsor was also on light duties. OSERVATIONS, PLAYER WATCH AND DRILLS INFORMATION Drills were nothing new and involved overlaps, weaves, clean ball handling and picking the correct options. All players looked pretty fit and a few have put on some beef. Among them were Jefferson, Sestan, Farris White, Sparrow and I really liked the look of TRENT RIVERS! After exercises stretches players were practicing goal kicking from various angles, distance and combos of set shots and on the run pivots. After that came an almost full match simulations between Red Kicking with the wind and White kicking against. Reds DOMINATED; however, it was at times difficult to differentiate as quite a few players had different numbers on for example VINES wearing no 3? As well as standing on the outside looking in this set another level of challenge! From the Match sim I have this to report! BEN BROWN will play round 1 barring injury; He looked really good unhampered and ran far and wide kicked plenty of goals and looks a new man. TRENT RIVERS Wow just watching him develop was just mind bending , he has gone to another level with fitness, confidence, poise and belief ran through midfield at times and just shrugged opponents at will. SHANE MC ADAM What an excitement machine knows where to run, almost took the hanger of the year, and kicks the ball beautifully , he will also play round one. JACK BILLINGS What an astute pick up, clever, crafty, uses the ball very well and will slot in as high half forward or maybe wing and did some very nice things. KOZZY PICKET, Did the usual Kossy things. TOM FULLARTON, doesn’t look out of place and is a presence in Ruck and forward. JOSH SCHACHE Bit of a surprise packet for me today was involved kicked a couple of goals and was good in contest. MATHEW JEFFERSON, Has definitely bulked up and did a few nice things and kicked a couple of goals as well. BAILEY LAURIE Was also quite involved in general play, but I don’t know if he just lacks something is it breakaway pace? BLAKE HOWES Also did some good things , took the game on , his disposal was good and he looked quite confident! Other than that T Mac played back but gee he looks slow and I’m not sure where he will sit this year in selections. A few players missed REGULATION goals for example Trac from 40 out directly in from and really this again would not want to be part of our conversion going forward. Was training intensity up or down compared to what I saw last year at this time? I would have to say Slightly less intense than same time and maybe just building gradually. Skills looked sharper and there was a propensity to pick the correct option and seemed to be more creative handball. There was little evidence of Bombing into forward 50, but then again, this needs to be tested at the coalface in games to see if there has been a more systematic entry and conversions that equate to wins. Will try to watch again next week if possible.
  24. A number of Demonland Trackwatchers braved the heat to venture down to Gosch's Paddock as the entire list returned to the training track for the annual time trials. Here are some observations from KEV MARTIN, CLANIKO, WALKING CIVIL WAR, WAYNE WUSSELL, DEEZ MAN & OLD 55. KEV MARTIN’s PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Summer training, time trials and all back into it. 45 players in the squad, including a strong looking Noah Yze (did not time trial). I think the only one missing was Chandler. Great to see Angus out there in the yellow cap. He participated in the non-contact program. Even the small bumps and body contact drills were avoided. He looked very sharp, 100% efficiency I reckon. Oliver has started on a full rehab program now. Running, kicking, gym work. He was not time trialled. Occasionally appeared a little frustrated with the running, but kept the head down, and did what was asked. Fritsch must be very close to full training. Some kicking drills really worked him over. Had a spill and clumsily hit the ground as he fumbled. He did not look like making any errors after that, doing the rest of his work with style. Has passion and commitment. Looking stronger and heavier through his hips. Petty did a little kicking, no running, plenty of gym. Was vocal when hanging around the structured sims. Helping out Jefferson, giving some pointers about body and arm work in the lead up to a contest. Melky on a similar program to Petty. Both in blue tops, while the rest had training jersey's on. Kossie did the time trial, but I think not up to standard, as he was placed on a running program alongside Fritsch doing 5 km and no participation in the simulations. Wasn't particularly happy by the end of it. Though, like Olivercompleted it. At the end of training, Kossie and McAdam were walking together, and Goody places his arms around both and gives them the emotional, caring support. Maisie appears to be working hard as a leader. When he wasn't running, he was on the boundary, offering encouragement. He was very vocal about the skills he liked about McAdams. McAdams struggled a bit with the time trial, but excelled in the sims. Has the ability to find the footy on a lead and gets front and centre of the pack and is a ball magnet. Fullarton and Max were matched during the structured sims, and Farris-Whitewas up against Verral. All four are doing well. Max appears unhindered, Farris-White getting more involved, Verral works well, especially below his knees. I think Fullerton (good agility and run) will be Max's back-up at this stage. Sparrow has the rig, and a few made him aware of it at the start of the time trial. He was in the fast pack, with Tomlinson, ANB, Langdon, McVee, Taj, maybe another one, but cannot recall, and could be wrong about the group. Spargo and Bowey were the hardest working players during the structured sims. After the action on the field, they got them sprinting 25 m around the boundary as another group entered. The simulations can be a full oval, with players having more choice of style and ball movement, or a set play kind of a structured sim. Today's structured sims, appeared to be about movement from the backline, and then a sim of getting the forwards well set when creating 50 re-entries. Emphasis was in making two fwds hold back and the other fwds pushing out. They finished with timed runs down the centre of the paddock. They had to do extra, as a few didn't get under the time, this disappointed a few, but the word got around to make sure you take your mates with you. The four new young one's did not do these run troughs. Viney looks to have put on more muscle. Thought Hunter was looking a bit slower. Tomlinson was looking big and strong. Howes, Adams, Turner, and Billing all going about it professionally. Windsor and K. Brown competed well in the sims. Sestan has great hands. Salem was flying under the radar, only noticed him when they first entered the field. There was an aerial clash of four players at one stage, with the coaches voice of that's what we expect. No-one was hurt. Last on the track were some smalls working on ground ball gets, Viney, Laurie, and two others, with Tracc and Kolt kicking goals. Tracc was very accurate, I think it helps his kicking, with someone else following him and having him as a mentor. It was a long session. CLANIKO's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS: • Regarding Angus Brayshaw's return to training and whether he was training with the main group or on a modified program - Doing his time trial currently, appears to be with the main group. • Looks like it, they're doing their time trials in groups so it's a bit hard to tell who's in the rehab group and who's just not doing theirs currently. • Oliver, Fritsch, Salem and a kid in #46 I don't recognise look like they're doing the rehab program. • Tommo and Nibbler are miles ahead of their group and almost racing each other with Tommo just pulling ahead • Time trials done. All going over to get a much needed drink. • They picked a rough day to do time trials, might only be 10am but in the sun it's bloody hot • Oliver kicking to Fritta on a lead, both clearly doing a modified program to main group. • Salem wandered off somewhere also not with the main group • Tyla Hanks is here. Not sure if she's helping out with the session or just watching. • Split into two groups doing a drill working the ball up the wing to a leading target with some defenders. • Leading targets started B. Brown, Jefferson, JvR and Sestan. • Now Schache, McAdam, Brown and someone wearing #14 I don't recognise. • Pretty sure I just saw Billings in #33 getting called JB so maybe him and Fullarton have swapped jumpers. • Kosi and Fritta doing some running separate to the group. • Currently doing ground ball gets or marks with tackling pressure. • Notable absences - Kosi and Fritta doing some running together. Oliver doing some running. And Gus doing a separate drill with a trainer in the dreaded fluro cap • Forwards vs defenders now • Defenders start with the ball then work it out to miss who turn over then practice a forward entry • Defenders: May, TMac, Judd, Bowey and Disco? (I can't tell) , • Forwards: McAdam, JvR, Laurie, Sestan and Brown • Similar thing happening on the other side of the ground but I'm too far to see any detail • Cannot believe I'm saying this but Ben Brown looked really good. Took a strong contested mark and another on a lead • Choco came over for a chat • He seemed very impressed with McAdam, pencil him in for a round 1 (or opening round 🙄) appearance. • Kosi on a different program because he just got back from SA and they don't want to overdo him. • When I asked about TMac training with the backs he suggested I was an opposition scout 😂 and didn't go into any more detail. • He confirmed #46 is Noah Yze training with them WAYNE WUSSELL'S PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Wandered in for a gander right on time for time trial. Tomlinson and Spargo ran as though they were here to protect their round 1 spots! Other impressive runs by Fullarton, Tholstrup and Adams (special mention to Jack Viney, who only knows one way!) I was amazed at how vigorous Melksham was in his rehab exercises. Also good to see Fritsch and Oliver progressing well. When they began full oval work in several groups, I walked around to watch the young talls on the Punt Road wing. I was impressed with how much effort coach Stafford put in with his instruction to this group. They were primarily engaged in one-on-one marking contests with a small running past to mop up after the contast. Most impressive in the air was Verall, who consistently got the better of Farris-White, Jefferson (who took a couple of good grabs) and Schache. When Benny Brown joined for a short stint, he was excellent at putting his opponent off balance and clunking the ball. I haven't seen Ben looking this strong for some time. In general, noticed how smooth Billings was in run and disposal. Fullarton and McAdam did not stand out for me in these full ground exercises. Tholstrup looks the closest to senior selection of the newbies. DEEZ MAN's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Went down to training with my old man today and I'll do my best to recount what we noticed. Fritsch, Kozzie & Oliver did plenty of running away from the main group. Melky looked a lot more mobile than I was expecting but didn't partake in much. Gussy was there and ran the time trial and seemed to miss out on a couple of drills but was involved in most of the day. McAdam really looks like a player we've been missing, in the match sim he was constantly leading to the right places and got on the end of a few, including one diving grab out the back. I'm prepared to say he's very likely to be in round one team - though he didn't appear to run the 2km well. Likely one of the worse performers though I don't know what his fitness was like coming to us. Based on what I saw today, Tholstrup will be in the team very early and I'm actually prepared to say he'll play round 1 and give us a really dynamic option up forward. He brought some really nice energy when playing up forward, won a 50/50 contest and snapped truly. He then kicked another goal a couple minutes later and was clean the entire session. He also ran really well and just looked really at the level already. I am very confident he's going to be a player and he's going to add to us immediately despite not wanting to put too much pressure on him. A few others mentioned how good Ben Brown looked and he really surprised me too. He was moving well, took a few really nice grabs and finished his work. My dad and I were both impressed by number 14 who we later learned was Tom Fullarton. He was involved in a lot of things and really surprised me by how well he moved and his skills for a player his size. I'm going to go out on a limb and also say he'll be in the team round 1. He ran well today too. Admittedly, he didn't get on the end of any but he was playing up the ground more. It looks like they're going to play Tmac back this year, he was in the backline and did a few good things. One interesting play billings had the ball at half forward and Tmac was marking McAdam. McAdam manage to evade him found a nice channel and Billings put it on his chest. May told Tmac keep your eyes on the ball carrier instead of your player in that scenario. Billings was being used a lot in the match sim as the player to distribute the ball inside 50 and he was heavily involved and using it quite well. He's another I think will be a big chance to play early if not round 1. Viney looked outstanding and did his usual things, max ran well, sparrow ran well and looked good. Noah Yze was a lot bigger and more mature looking than I was expecting and was running around in #46. Sestan had a good impact up forward and kicked a nice goal, his running is a mile off though. He was probably the worst of the 2km time triallers, but he's also just so big through the hips. Anyway Go Dees! OLD55's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS The only player I didn't see was Kade Chandler. As reported Salem left the track at the start so didn't participate. AFAIK everyone else was there and active at some level. Noah Yze has a good frame - looks to be 188 or so and broad shoulders so size won't hold him back. Right footer. It was a long session especially when kicked off with the TT. As reported Tommo blitzed the A team group in that. WALKING CIVIL WAR's PRESEASON TRAINING OBSERVATIONS • The band’s back together! • SOOO good to see Gussy. i got a greasy hug. Sunscreen everywhere. He apologised, I said worth it just to see you looking so well. He noticed my Demonland T-shirt, I told him everyone on DL loves him and are stoked he’s playing on. • Noah Yze is here! Looks like his dad. • Kozzie looks great, so fit! • Today’s session is easy for me to explain… running. Running, running and more running. Poor bastards, I’m knackered just watching them 🥵 • Maysie just walked past and said “this is the worst, I [censored] hate this” 🤣 The rig on Tommo!!! Apparently he just ran the fastest, according to my buddy who timed them. So, not official. But hella fast. • Kolt aka my new bestie came over to say hello. He said, “nice sunnies!” They’re wraparounds so I said, “Yep, I’m rocking the Kolt look today, except mine are Versace, you probably bought yours at the servo for $20” He said, “$25 actually.” 😂 From the Herald Sun: Melbourne midfield star Angus Brayshaw has been given formal approval to continue his AFL career as he made an impressive return to pre-season training on Monday. Brayshaw was knocked out in the Demons’ qualifying final loss to Collingwood in one of the most dramatic moments of the season, with good friend Brayden Maynard ultimately cleared by the AFL appeals board. Brayshaw’s brother said in the immediate aftermath he would consider his football future but as his symptoms cleared Demons mid Angus was always determined to continue his AFL career. On Monday as the Demons senior players returned to training with a 2km time trial Brayshaw ran impressively in baking Melbourne heat then joined his teammates in training. The fluro yellow hat which indicated he was not yet allowed contact was the only indication that Brayshaw would be treated differently to his teammates. The Demons have ticked every medical box and had his return approved by the AFL, which means a player contracted to 2028 will have ambitious plans to play a full 2024 season. Melbourne’s players broke up into smaller groups for that 2km time trial and Charlie Spargo, who played only 14 senior games this year, set a withering pace. He led home Jack Viney, Brayshaw and Lachie Hunter in one group, while Adam Tomlinson burnt off hard-running Alex Neal-Bullen in the battle of the club’s best runners. Ben Brown was limited to only seven AFL games given knee issues in 2023 but ran freely as he pushed Steven May hard and was excellent in match simulation as he enters the final season of his contract. TRAINING NOTES Melbourne star Clayton Oliver will be held back from full training until mid-January as he continues to rehabilitate his knee after off-season surgery. The Demons had said Oliver was four weeks from integrating into full training but the expectation is that the Demons medicos will treat his return date with caution. Melbourne has few issues with his physical conditioning as he ran sprints, kicked the football to fellow rehab group member Bayley Fritsch and did some light touch work. And while he will be footy’s most scrutinised man this off-season Melbourne is also optimistic he has made gains away from football with his personal issues. Coach Simon Goodwin recently admitted Oliver’s complicated personal challenges “have been ongoing for multiple years”. He was admitted to hospital after a seizure the Demons star said was partly attributed to ADHD medication. The Demons also have swingman Joel Smith awaiting a date from Sports Integrity Australia for a hearing date over his match-day cocaine positive. Smith has accepted a provisional suspension and is unable to train with the Demons but will face a short SIA ban as well as a likely Demons internal suspension. NEW FACES Melbourne’s draftees in Caleb Windsor and Koltyn Tholstrup were both in action but it was the veterans in former Demon Marty Hore and ex-Saint Jack Billings who will be worth watching over summer. Billings hit up teammates including full forward Brown with impressive foot skills in match drills to show exactly why the Demons traded for the left-footer. Hore was the VFL’s best interceptor in the past two seasons and could get early games with Harrison Petty playing forward and Smith potentially suspended. Tom McDonald and Adam Tomlinson will both be pushing for that third defensive spot behind May and Jake Lever, who was impressive pushing McDonald in their 2km time trial. Ex-Lions tall Tom Fullarton also ran well as he prepares to back up Gawn in the ruck. INJURY ISSUES Melbourne is confident Harry Petty will be in full training well before round 1 as he recovers from a serious lisfranc injury that ended his 2023 season. Petty, keen to return to Adelaide but not released by the Demons, will play as a key forward alongside Jacob Van Rooyen. Van Rooyen and ex-Crows forward Shane McAdam were both at the forefront as the Demons slotted straight into mid-forward connection drills. The Demons failed miserably to capitalise on their welter of inside 50s as they lost in straight sets for the second season in a row. Fritsch was on light duties after his foot issues of 2023 which included a mid-season fractured foot and then toe ligament injury which he endured through finals. Kysaiah Pickett ran the time trial but then did run-throughs instead of training with the main group he battles some low-level groin soreness. Jake Melksham is ahead of schedule in his early recovery from an ACL tear but will only be back late next season. FULL PRESEASON TRAINING THREAD FROM MONDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2023
  25. Demonland Trackwatchers WERRIDEE, HAWK THE DEMON, DEMON WHEELS, WALKING CIVIL WAR, SCOOP JUNIOR & KEV MARTIN ventured down to Gosch's Paddock to bring you their observations from Friday's Preseason Training Session which closes out the first week back on the track for the Demons. WERRIDEE'S RUNNING COMMENTARY OF HIS OBSERVATIONS: Farris-White and Sestan out there early kick to kick Rivers and Bowey running laps Roo and Laurie kick to kick Billing’s in no33 McVee Howes and Turner kicking in a triangle the rest having shots on goal Howes and Sestan practicing hip and shoulder techniques and tackling techniques They seperate into 2 groups one doing resistance training the other doing jumps and stretches They are all doing resistance training now Now they are doing run throughs Now they are dropping back then leading forward Melksham is training away from the rest as you’d expect Now they are stretching Now they separate into 6 groups as they pass the ball and also picking up the ball at their feet Melksham skipping and jumping Now there doing passing exercises with B.Brown and Roo leading out Petty is there but not doing anything Re: Senior players in attendance: McDonald Gawn trac the rest are youngsters Clarry on the sideline doing resistance training Now they all over the ground passing exercises with Roo and McAdam leading out Riv looks like he’s going to have a superb year Lever is also there Petty doing one on one marking with Melksham kicking it to him The taller players are doing ruck drills while the mids are doing tackling drills They have now switched Now they are doing match sim white and orange tops defending Norma tops attacking trac just done a beautiful pass to McAdam Roo has just turned it over Laurie gets his kick well spoiled by Lever Hore in everything Petty is not in a moon boot and Fritta is not here Clarry still training away from the group I think Petty and Melksham are done for the day Trac Riv and Hore dominating Windsor just got his ball smothered by Riv Trac another brilliant pass to McAdam Bowey just put it down the throat of the opposition in Adams Great smother by Billings Gawn nice pass to Moniz-Wakefield Clarry just told me he’s a month til full training Fullerton just beat McDonald one on one to applause Jefferson just beat Turner one on one Now the yellow vests b normal billing’s in a white vest just dropped a sitter Sestan just kicked a dribbler McDonald on Roo Roo just took a good mark Tholstrup KBrown Windsor and McAdam not participating Bowey is now in the white vest Verrall good intercept Roo kicks a goal for the red team McVee just got stopped in his tracks by Riv Good pass from Hore to Farris-White to Moniz-Wakefield for a goal McVee now in the white vest When asked whether Tom McDonald is training forward or back - BACK When asked whether Trent Rivers is training backs or mids - BACKS Schache just kicked a goal Now everybody’s favourite push ups Just handball drills now HAWK THE DEMON'S OBSERVATIONS ON ATTENDENCE: Petty not in a moonboot, but not training. New attendees today - Schache, B Brown and Melksham doing exercises with Jack McLean the physio. Apparently training will be at Gosch's on Monday before they head to Casey for the remainder of the year. Clayton doing his run throughs again - will probably re-join the main group before Christmas. Non-attendees so far this week - Chandler, May, Viney, Brayshaw, Kosi, Langdon, Tomlinson and Smith. Assume will all be there on Monday, other than Joel of course. DEMON WHEELS' OBSERVATIONS FROM TRAINING: Dropped in for a quick 30 minute visit while they happened to be doing match-sim for the bulk of that time. General Observations: – Quite open play with lots of kicking to targets both short and long – Coaches pushing for the kicker to follow-up and connect / overlap which happened more frequently after a bit of fatigue had set in – Good quality kicking and marking with the odd longer kick missing the target (bit blustery out there so forgivable) Player Observations: – Impressed by almost all of our tall young players getting involved in the match sim at certain times – Verrall and Adams did some good things and had some nice touches – Farris-White is a beast and didn’t look out of place – Jefferson did some good things and was quite amongst it to begin with, faded a bit towards the end. Did well in the earlier ‘marks-up’ one-on-one where he either beat or neutralised against JVR, Turner and one other tall (can’t recall who). He was quite agile in these marking attempts and got busy even if out of position to make a contest, he looks to be building to me – Fullarton looks a player as well – McVee, Bowey, Woey, Laurie, Rivers all getting touches and trying to link up through the middle – TMac playing as the last defender did an impressive job and his kicking was good too – All the new draftees don’t look too light in terms of body shape at all – Trac looks like a cat on a hot tin roof when he gets the footy, just electric feet – JVR looks primed and just doesn’t give in. Took a few nice grabs and just competes non-stop – Gawn looks fit, fresh and healthy. Took a few nice grabs as well and was actually jumping And lastly Tim Lamb was walking around the boundary with a big tall kid – who else but Kalani White. Looks like he was there for a bit of a meet and greet / orientation of sorts as he was introduced to Andrew McQualter. Go Dees. WALKING CIVIL WAR'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Bloody l-o-n-g session. Close to three hours. As usual Tracc stayed out there for about half an hour after the others had all left, having shots on goal. He does this after sessions, totally his choice. Tracc is dedication personified. Like, next level invested. LOL… I told him he needs to get to work on his muscles. He looked shocked and said, “Who, me???!” I said, “Relax, I’m kidding!” He said, “Phew, for a minute there…” 😁 Like he should pay any mind to what a slightly deranged fan says, amirite?! I told Marty Hore welcome back and he said he’s so happy to be back because this is where he really wants to be, and that he feels like he never left. 💖 Clarrie started later than the others. We chatted a little before he started. Wednesday wasn’t a one-off. He’s definitely on the right track. Happy to chat, super positive, walks with a spring in his step and his head held high. Hashtag body language tells all. Also had interesting chats with Chocco and Perty and Goody, all separately, but all instilled a strong sense of positivity and I’d even say excited anticipation. They’re clearly pumped for next season, as are the players. It really shows. The whole vibe this week has been amazing, which bodes well so early in the preseason. Best thing about today? Two words… [censored] MELKSY! Was NOT expecting to see him moving so well! It was such a sight to behold. Last time I saw him he looked (and was) gutted. Totes different today, all smiles and really buoyed. Perty said his recovery won’t be like “your regular ACL recovery” I said, “he looks ahead of schedule already.” Perty said at this rate he’ll be right “middle of the season.” YAY 🥳 PS Adorable little George Gawn stole the show on the boundary. Heartwarming moment: Tracc walking towards him, George runs to greet him, arms outstretched wanting Tracc to pick him up, which Tracc did, making George so happy he buried his little head into Tracc’s shoulder. I know, right?! 🥹 SCOOP JUNIOR'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I was able to get down to training this morning. Those who I didn't see there - May, Salem, Viney, Spargo, Gus, Hunter, Langdon, Tomlinson, Smith, ANB, Fritsch, Sparrow, Kozzie, Chandler Oliver was doing numerous run throughs on the boundary and then some ground ball work. Not running at full speed but was doing a decent chunk of slow running. Melksham and Petty did some kicking and then went in early. No moon boot on Petty. Neither did any running. I got there just before 10am and they were initially doing some transition work without tackling. Fairly easy ball movement stuff without any pressure / tackling. They then split into groups - talls and smalls. The smalls did one-on-one ground balls, one player would win possession and the other would tackle. The talls did one-on-one marking. They then swapped so the talls did ground balls and the smalls did marking. No real surprises in the split up here, the only one of interest was that McAdam was with the talls. After this, they then did a drill where the ball was kicked to about 40m out in the D50, a ground ball would ensue, and the defensive team would win the ground ball and then try transition the ball forward to an inside 50. This was under pressure as there was an opposition. The focus seemed to be on running hard off half back. Again no positional surprises, other than perhaps McAdam as a tall deep forward. It appears he may be earmarked to play a bit out of the goal square. I think of Kozzie in the Carlton final where he created problems with his speed as a deep forward. McAdam has speed but is better in the air. They then repeated this drill but on the other half back flank / side of the ground. The next drill was a kick out from the pocket in the attacking team's 50 and the attacking team would win the ground ball and then look for a re-entry inside 50m. Whereas the previous drill was a deep turnover (at half back), this was a high turnover (between half-forward and wing). They looked to switch it a fair bit so that the inside 50 entry was to the fat side where there were less numbers and less congestion. It was a bit messy but there did appear to be a focus to get it to the fat side rather than a down-the-line re-entry to congestion. This was also done under pressure with a defending team. Finally there was some full ground ball movement drills. By this stage some of the new boys went and did running so it was probably something like 11 v 11. As a result there was a lot of space so it obviously didn't replicate the kind of pressure and lack of space you'd see in a game. TMac played key back for this. Maybe just to stand in for May, but who knows. I left soon after this as they were doing some handballs in tight and shots for goal/snaps. I find it hard to read too much into player performance at training so I've focused more on what they did as a group. One thing I will mention is there is something about the Tholstrup boy. The big mop of curly hair that makes his head stand out in a crowd and what appears to be a level of confidence / self-belief. I didn't get the impression that he was a new guy there. He really pushed hard on the run throughs, leading the way when running with Windsor, Brown and McAdam. He then encouraged Windsor and McAdam to beat the required times when they were doing some extra running after he finished. He went and helped up the skipper off the ground after they did push ups. I don't know exactly what it is but there does look to be something a bit different and unique about him. If he can play, he seems the type of player who will be really fun to watch. KEV MARTIN'S TRAINING OBSERVATIONS Wandered down for a squizz at the bizz on Gosch's. Melksham rehabbing, not doing a running program yet. Oliver appears underdone. Working a running program, though not very advanced in exertion. Completely opposite to how he turned up last pre-season (fittest of the lot). Petty was having just strolling around. The field was dry and the ball handling for pre-season was good. Some stabb passes early in the session dropped in front of the leading players, at least they weren't bombing away. There was some emphasis on creating fwd 50 marks, plenty of short ball hit ups in the simulations. They started with runs and short kicks, then into station drills of low pick-ups, one on one positioning to high balls with push off, and side tackling after receiving high the ball. The atmosphere was great. Get a sense they have a point to make. Everyone was supportive of each other, the noise level was high, and they were looking like a great young squad. They took knees a few times, with group discussions and some frivolity. Plenty of instructions and guidance from the coaches during the process. Goal kicking practice was about snaps, based on the musical chairs game, but with the ball going around, with a couple of defenders and the manikins, making it tougher. McQualter (Mini) gets right in there with the mids, emphasising the spacing. Some drills were created to make the fwds hold position deep, and spread fast as a turnover happens when the opposition leaves our 50 area but loses the ball. Loved our run, we look fast. Standouts include Bowey, McVee, Tholstrup, Laurie. Laurie was baulking everyone, so much composure and looks to be a big improver. Tholstrup is a born leader, supporting team-mates, working hard, one of the last on the field, Also appears to have the will to get to the contest and has that explosiveness after getting the ball. AFL speed won't worry him, a good size and solidness about him. Bowey looking stronger and faster, impacts when he gets the ball. McVee has that composure, runs to the right places and looks explosive. McAdam was definitely struggling with the running program, though out in the sims he gets involved and has nice skills. Verral was getting plenty of 1%er's going, earning praise from the coaches. His is looking slim and moving well. Must have been working hard off season. Howes is looking to be all muscle, barely any fat on him, looks ready for some hard at it footy. Rivers was linking everything during sims. Max and Lever cannot keep away from the play, plenty of involvement. T'Mac was playing in the back line during sims, moving freely, though not winning the run throughs as he used to. Billings adds another dimension to us. Finds space and has a good finish. Kynan Brown has great vision, runs good angles, if he gets some consistency in skills, and a bit more bulk I believe he will make it. Windsor was low-key, I didn't notice him too often. I reckon JVR needs to have a full and hard working pre-season, looks a bit off, his usual aggression didn't seem there. Jefferson was dancing around well and wants to goal when he gets it. Working up and down the field, a few fumbles, and in and out of the play during Sims. Sestan has improved his fitness, no longer gasping after the exertion, and has plenty of composure. Adams has bulked up and playing well by sitting behind the ball. Turner was working up the field off the backline, providing carry of the ball. Farris-White, looks like his skills have improved, has a bit more bulk about him. AMW, seems more mature, getting to the right positions and kicking goals in the sims. Taj is going about it very professionally, straightens the ball movement up and continues to bring intelligence to the game. Hore has not missed a beat. Schache is working hard, getting on the end of plenty. BBB looking faster, and turning well. Still has his own running program. He and Tracc last on the paddock doing goal kicking practice. The new young ones, did not compete in Sims. There is going to be plenty of pressure for places. We will be batting deep. Go Dees EMDE's TRAINING OBSERVATIONS I've been to Monday's and today's training. In no particular order.. The best 10-12 we know and will again be our core. Melsham was doing his drills just in from of me. There's minimal difference in his quads, he was jumping off either foot, doing side step jumps then short kicking with either leg. He must have done a power of rehab to be this far advanced so soon after a knee recon. BBB was moving really well, and moving quickly in his leads to the ball. KFY and Verrall are both very mobile and would make other rucks look sluggish if they can maintain this in a game scenario. Taj especially but Dan Turner, Jed Adams and Jefferson all looking very much stronger. Schache doing what he likes best and avoiding contact. Of McAdam, Billings and Fullarton - they are going to have to bring serious game sense, skill and endeavour to be in the best 22. Which is what we really want. Laurie & Taj look like they really want a spot. But the 2 stand outs for me were Marty Hore and Oli Sestan. Hore was in everything, knew where to position himself in the drills, clean, precise, moving really well. Sestan played one drill on the lead out of the goal square. Never fumbled, nialed them from everywhere. Another, he was link man- precise foot skills, clean hands, looking 1 or even 2 moves ahead of the rest. Hope his tank is larger this year - he looks fitter and dare I say a bit trimmed down below the waist. If JT was correct in his summation 12 months ago when questioned about this choice, he said that we couldn't afford to let Sestan slip another year and thought he might be worth a punt. Lastly, Kynan Brown will never let anyone die wondering if he's put in enough effort to get to play AFL. He never stopped. Looks like he has massive tank. Needs 2 preseasons to get 10kg on his frame. FYI FULL PRESEASON TRAINING FOR FRIDAY 1ST DECEMBER 2023 THREAD
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