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Training report. 4th December.

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warburton lad 



Joined: 26 Aug 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:06 am
Post subject: Training report. 4th December.Reply with quote

After a weekend of rain of almost Biblical proportions across my adopted state, it's a pleasure to have a distraction from the carnage caused by the torrents. At one stage, I considered going to my local hardware to get 40 cubits of timber and start constructing a twenty-first century Ark. On the passenger list for my Ark, I would make room for two of every kind of bird and beast, with the exception of Carlton supporters, road ragers and those people who don't enjoy watching Goggle Box.

It's another cool and overcast Monday morning in Melbourne and the journey to The Vatican on Olympic Boulevard for Magpie fans is uneventful, this time in my beloved Leyland P-76. At the stage of life The Lad is at, even the simplest of joys are something to be savoured- seeing those who represent our club working so hard on individual and collective improvement is one such joy. On that note, nothing annoys me more than those fans who attend our games and criticise our players. As Teddy Roosevelt once proclaimed, "... It's not the critic who counts, but the man in the arena, splattered with sweat and blood but getting it done..!!"

In the seven days since I last experienced 'Nirvana' ( in the football sense), I have read an interesting biography of American General George Patton. 'Blood & Guts' as he was known by his troops once famously said, " If everyone agrees, then someone isn't thinking!!" This gave me pause to recall something I've noticed, but not reported on, from the past two sessions. At the end of the trainings, Buckley and his coaching cohort gather in the middle of the oval for a five to ten minute debrief. Discourse such as this gives Bucks' henchmen the opportunity to give feedback to the senior coach on the session just completed.

The oval is looking an absolute treat- even after the deluge, and it's surface is like a billiard table ( only with four pockets instead of six) and it's hard to imagine a better facility for our players to ply their trade on. A solitary runner runs lap after lap on the public running track inside the fence; her slight physique a direct contrast to the trim, taut and terrifically toned torsos of the Magpie players. Incongruously, for a summer training session, it's a mere fifteen degrees, there is a sprinkle of rain and the lights are on!

This week is notable as there are more senior players returning to work on the track. Fabulous to report that Ben Reid, Josh Thomas and Adam Treloar are out there amongst it. On his way to the rest of the playing group, Bucks stops and gives a hearty welcome to these players. There are a myriad of reasons why a player may miss training with the senior group: illness, specific weight training sessions, injury treatment to name a few, but today, the group is almost totally present in number. And they work with great energy and enthusiasm; when one hears the friendly banter amongst the playing group, it's clear that this is not an Ashes Test.

The group are showing enormous discipline in being on the track and prepared to start training at the allotted time. Like any footballers, they love latching on to a Sherrin and indulging their skills prior to the formal training beginning. Giving Daniel Wells a Sherrin is like handing a surgeon a scalpel- the instrument of choice is used for the purpose it is designed and his incisions are precise. One can almost envisage Wells slicing through the middle of the MCG in a big final, hitting up a Magpie teammate on the lead- hopefully this happens in 2018.

The gentle warm-ups cease abruptly and the players run to allotted areas on the ground- there is a discipline and attention to detail here that is very evident. Jeremy Howe stated on 'The Grind' last week that the players were up for the intensity that each session involved. I have watched the Magpies preseasons for many years and have not seen such a tough start to the preseason slog since Tom Hafey took the reins at the end of 1976. It may seem somewhat masochistic, but the players seem to be enjoying the 'real' nature of the drills. Players accept that they will be hit hard if they dally on disposals.

Stephenson certainly has 'wheels'- in a warm up he speedily picks up a loose ball and drills with precision, off either hand penetrating handballs. Great to see the captain fully- involved and getting heaps of encouragement from Sidey and Dunn at the first break in drills. There is a new face in the group- not sure who it is, but he looks like a cross between Gwilt and Chad Lidell with early Heretier Lumumba hairdo.

The drills today are arduous- taxing the endurance of the players under close pressure- the so-called ''Match-Sim". One of the toughest rotations the players are asked to perform involves running around the confines of the square playing 'keeping s- off by foot. Tyler Brown shows sublime skills by foot, hitting moving targets with ease, under pressure.

Another rotation has other newbies, Stephenson and Murphy working on contested drills with seniors such as Cox and Grundy under the watchful eye of Lockyer. This is played with less players than the other drill and the sharpness of Varcoe, Wells and Kirby stands out.

Between rotations, the players run a very sharp half lap, on group heading to the Rod Laver goals, the other to the Yarra River end before meeting in front of The Glasshouse Cafe. Daicos and Fasolo lead one group in whilst Smith and Greenwood ( left knee strapped) head the other group. As they pause in front of me, I catch a glimpse of Magden- this lad is very solid and certainly seems 'body-ready' to play AFL.

Anthony Rocca throws a ball in from the boundary in front of me and Tyler and Fasolo contest the ruck. The ball finds its way out the back to Moore who takes off at top speed, but is run down by Stephenson who wins the plaudits of the group. Crocker excels in this activity- able to alternately find the Sherrin on the inside of packs or get loose to receive as an outside player.

The drills are interchanged very quickly, it's hard to keep track, but in the next one, the player in front must protect the ball on the ground from a player behind him by intense shepherding. Tyler Brown is pitted against Lynden Dunn. The senior man instructs the newbie on how best to position his body- Brown is outmatched physically, but wins praise for his persistence.

Another throw-in from Rocca pits Mihocek against Magden- their two bodies clash hard and the spillage falls to Pendles . The only thing slicker than Pendles short, back and sides hairdo is the handball he sends to the fleet-of-foot Daicos whose foot pass hits Rocca in the middle of that gigantic chest. The next contest in ruck is between McLarty ( in head gear) and Mihocek. Determined to reverse a previous loss in a contest, McLarty out bodies Mihocek and then breaks away from the contest at speed.

A large group alternates between centre half forward and wing simulating ball ups. In one such scenario near goals, Buckley instructs the first player to receive the knock out to shoot on goal. Fasolo roves beautifully to a well-weighted Cox tap and drills on the right foot from forty out-goal...

It's now 10-30 and the group have been at it for over 75 minutes. The lift in intensity from previous weeks in terms of running is patently obvious. Bodies, young and old, are being put under strain, but this scribe hears nothing but encouragement. Rookie Appleby seems a naturally gifted runner and also quite adept with ball in hand. Hine described him as a multidimensional defender with elite endurance. Nothing The Lad has seen today would doubt what our recruiter said. In a reprise of the final drill of last week, half the group run laps at full pace, passing to coaches placed around the boundary. Kirby is busting his gut during this drill, his passing of the ball precise. Not sure if Mason Cox reads Nicks, but his foot is intercepting the ball closer to the ground on the short kicks and today his passes travel through the air faster, his McGough 'helicopter-kicks' nowhere in sight.

The entire group, less those in rehab, now play a practice match in an area no bigger than a soccer pitch. Reds versus Blacks. The ball is kicked in from full back by Crisp to Magden whose floater is intercepted by Moore. However, the ball is turned over and finally ends up with Broomhead who snaps truly. A minute later, Broomhead crumbs off a Cox spillage and snaps his second. Although, technically, the game is played as a rolling scrum/ pack, it would appear that Smith is playing forward ( and doing well) and Moore forward. Murphy is moving extremely well and his kicking is very slick, driving the ball forward with precision. He is also very mobile- I think he has a promising future, once his body fulfills the promise playing at this level demands. In keeping with the past few weeks, tackling is both evident and encouraged a few players on the Black team underestimate the closing speed of Varcoe who punishes their lack of peripheral vision/ awareness. An unselfish pass from Blair allows Broomhead a third goal. From the resulting centre ball up, Cox floors Grundy, the ball ends up with Smith who then hits Mason with a precise pass to the Quiet American who had charged forward from the centre.

An indecisive Mihocek then clears long from defence, the ball spills to 'Black' Howe who takes on Murphy. The youngster refuses to let last year's 'real' Mark of the Year winner pass and the resultant free results in a goal and pats from his peers.

The back half match-ups are interesting: McLarty on Mayne, Howe on Tyler Brown, Magden on Murphy and Crisp on Kirby. The younger men are by no means disgraced.

Match practice ends with another boundary sprint. Of concern to me is Grundy pointing to his lumbar region and being worked on by the club physio. Thankfully, he regains his feet and resumes his place with the squad. By this time, the younger players have taken position up near Olympic Boulevard and are working on handball and short kicking. The senior players are down at the Yarra end. After the rain, the Yarra resembles the Ganges river of India.

De Goey, Callum Brown and Lynch continue to run laps, of the oval, their honest commitment to being at peak physical fitness by the start of practice matches is really impressive.

A large group works on a 'perpetual motion' goal kicking drill. This is a real tough drill as players must run, dodge and kick at goal under pressure whilst fatigued. No stand outs, but Murphy simply never misses and Lynch is a fine kick for one so tall. Two groups of four under the watchful eye of Boyd, Bucks, Harvey and Longmuir play handball keepings-off- the loser has to sprint forty metres and then win the ball back from a resting group of four. Varcoe continues to tackle teammates like they owe him money! Inspiring effort from the former Cat star.

Kirby, Pendlebury, Hoskin-Elliot and Phillips make a formidable quartet in this drill. They are quick of hand and elusive and make the other foursomes work hard to dispossess them. Cox, who has the wingspan of an A380 Airbus is a huge asset to his group which includes Broomhead and Crocker.

In one exercise, a pinpoint pass from Smith from over 40 metres hits Buddha Hocking on the chest- the former Cat veteran then feeds the ball back to Smith with a 25 metre handball which Smith accepts without breaking stride. It really is true what they say- form is temporary, but class is permanent.. It's clear that even at 49 years of age, Hocking has lost none of his immense football ability or class.

Ben Crocker continues to impress; first on the track and frequently the last off it. He has a tremendous work ethic. Whilst his 2017 was poor, he showed promise in 2016 and appears hungry to be a regular player in 2018. He can often be witnessed being advised by the assistant coaches and senior teammates- it's important to remember this lad is only 20 years of age. Track watchers may notice Crocker working hard on one aspect of his game at training and wonder if he will ever make the grade. At times like these, we need to exercise patience and remember the beautiful words written by Bryce Courteney in his seminal novel, 'The Power of One'; "The largest waterfall begins with a single drop of water!"

Tommy Langdon continues to emerge as a young leader. Although his tonsorial choices have raised more eyebrows than a Hollywood facelift Clinic, his importance as an organiser of the back half appears to be growing with every session. If Langdon was a crypto currency, he could be the Bitcoin player of 2018!! Supposition on my behalf, but I wonder if Langdon has been receiving mentoring from Captain Marvellous, Nick Maxwell, who is back at the club in a Leadership and Culture role.

AAMI Park provides an imposing and evocative backdrop to the training session. A Lynden Dunn torpedo punt seems to go from one end of its bulbous curved roof to the other. One wonders whether the AAMI stadium, with its attractive architecture and innovative hybrid structural system of shell, arch and cantilever, will ever attain the cult-status or place in people's hearts of a Windy Hill, an Arden Street or our own beloved Victoria Park.

Few players polarise our supporter group more than Jarryd Blair, but his effort on the track this morning was first-rate. It may be an optical illusion, but Blairy appears a little quicker this preseason- he certainly has returned in great condition although as I write this, he is given a few minutes back massage.

Draftees Murphy, Stephenson and Tyler Brown work under the watchful eye of their coaching mentors. It would appear to this observer that these three boys will play predominantly in the VFL in 2018- their physiques are a fair way off that which would enable them to perform without enduring a physical beating at the highest level. Rookies Magden, Mihocek are also present and working hard for their chance at the big-time. Oxley and Wills walk lap after lap- no limp evident on either player.

It is always a thrill to see a player like Adam Treloar shine on the track- with 122 games under his belt and coming off a season in which he was nominated for the All-Australian squad, it's not hard to see how this 24 year maintains his status as an elite player in the AFL. Like Taylor Adams last week, Treloar has seemingly set himself the goal of taking on the difficult disposals by foot or hand. His capacity to consistently hit targets warms the cockles of my heart.

Josh Daicos and Fasolo have clearly been set a huge load for this session. In between participation in selected drills, they alternately sprint and jog laps. Both players appear somewhat quicker than 2017. Similarly, Rocca and Gotch work the Lanky Yank to the limits of his endurance- he does not shirk the physical burden he was given. It's actually a tad comical to see the diminutive Brad Gotch roving to Mason Cox- one could be forgiven for thinking that one had wandered into the land of Lilliput made famous in the wonderful Jonathan Swift novel, 'Gulliver's Travel'.

After a very solid two hours on the track, the younger Pies are taken aside by Lockyer who explains the match-sim being done by their senior teammates. McLarty is a revelation in this drill and his strong intercept marking at full back and penetrating kicking are a joy to behold. Aish, Broomhead and Adams are ferocious around the packs and Grundy and Cox are strong combatants in the ruck. All the while, Lynch runs laps....!!

Maynard leaves the track at 11-30, having performed splendidly as usual. Some players exude leadership- he is one such player, his uncompromising approach fabulous to see. The senior players are now doing shuttle-runs. Gut busting, but not as bad as might have been if the weather was in the thirties, rather than the teens. Shortly after, Kirby joins Maynard, having completed a very good workout.

The remaining players now play an East-West practice match, from wing to wing, rather than goal to goal. Whilst the intensity begins somewhat slower it soon heats up as Dunn catches Smith in a crunching tackle. Scharenberg out points Crocker physically in a one on one, but pressure from the yellow team forces another turnover. Langdon is superb in this drill and it would appear a new team edict of playing the corridor is forcing him to be less conservative with his disposals out of the back half. It is certainly exciting to watch; Langdon's contests with Crocker are excellent with the number eight shading him slightly.

You cannot stop a retired player having a shot on goal, but Bucks two skidding drop punts from seventy metres out fade in transit and the air conveyance drift through for behinds...
The final match practice takes place in the central corridor of the field. Twenty four players remain and contested ball and quick disposal are king. Pendlebury is in Rolls-Royce form, no sign of discomfort from him. His clearing kick hits up McLarty. The big defender has an unusual gait, ( he runs like he is holding a toothpick between his knees), but he is quick over the ground and a good decision maker.

The clouds close in once more but the floodlights bring a pleasant glow in the gathering gloom. The players continue to work hard, drilling foot passes of either foot to waiting coaches, after almost three hours, the players head for the change rooms and a well-earned shower.

And so, my beloved P-76 and I head for the hills- hopefully in less than the two and a half hours it took to get to training! I reflect on another impressive training session by the Pies. We appear to be making great strides in terms of organisation on field and the players are looking in fine fettle. There is an energy and apparent camaraderie in this group which makes the heart glow with pride.

I'd be interested in the thoughts and reflections of other Nicksters or observers of our training . I take no offence if others disagree with my reports; as General Patton said, "If everyone agrees, then someone isn't thinking!!"

Floreat Pica dear Magpie friends.

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BucksIsFutureCoach 



Joined: 12 Feb 2007


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:25 am
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This must be sounding boring to you warburton lad, but another brilliant training report from you and well done for being able to identify the new faces from amongst the new recruits out there training.
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:27 am
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Thanks, WLad. Smile
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Cleomenes 



Joined: 14 Dec 2014


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:44 am
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I enjoyed this. Some of the literary flights are not quite there, but the training descriptions are as good as could be hoped for. Now it needs to translate into in season achievment
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Dave The Man Scorpio



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Location: Someville, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:06 pm
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Love Reading how Murphy Stands Out with his Kicking
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K 



Joined: 09 Sep 2011


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:24 pm
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Dave The Man wrote:
Love Reading how Murphy Stands Out with his Kicking

Yes. I was one of those who wanted elite kicking from our draft choices. Could it be that we got it with pick 39?
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winpies Scorpio



Joined: 12 Nov 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:39 pm
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Another very impressive report Lad. Thanks greatly, it is appreciated.
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qldmagpie67 



Joined: 18 Dec 2008


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:12 pm
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Lad yet again a marvellous report. I can sit in my lounge room in Queensland with the raining pelting down upon my roof close my eyes and feel like I'm at the training just by the message you convey in your eloquent words.
Many thanks again Lad in my humble opinion the club should hire you to write all training reports to be then displayed on our clubs website
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BazBoy 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:12 pm
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Excellent report W.L and great for taking time and the methodical approach

I take it you are weighing up the training situation against previous years

Is it your opinion that it could be more beneficial toward a more successful
2018

Speaking for all on Nicks gratitude in spades sir

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neil Sagittarius



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Location: Queensland

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:33 pm
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Wow great report WL
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BazBoy 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:51 pm
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Thru this reveiw I see something that is just as important as the recruited players——-the obvious hand picked new coaching team with the icing on
the cake our Culture man Nick.

If I had to pick a person who could instill leadership into the Langdon,s etc etc
it is Mr Maxwell

Could be our recruiting coup ⚡️⚡️⚡️

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warburton lad 



Joined: 26 Aug 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:06 pm
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BazBoy wrote:
Excellent report W.L and great for taking time and the methodical approach

I take it you are weighing up the training situation against previous years

Is it your opinion that it could be more beneficial toward a more successful
2018

Speaking for all on Nicks gratitude in spades sir


Thank you Mr Bazboy.

I compare this training regime to the last forty years!! The new coaches, and the new fitness guy seem to have introduced new approaches/ drills.

For example, goal kicking is now done at regular intervals, under pressure and and by every listed player.

Players are being trained in new roles and the running impost was very high today, not just running for running' sake, but drills incorporating a lot of ground coverage.

Finally, Boyd & Hocking are working closely with a lot of players. Buddha spent 15 minutes after training with Aish teaching him how to fend off and break tackles.

Interested spectator to this was Phillips and Jesse White who was chatting with Mason Cox and a few others.

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BazBoy 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:21 pm
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Of the newbie coach,s I am exceedingly pleased with Buddha for this possible
outcome

If he can transfer his tough uncompromising approach to players that need just that facet in their game to increase contribution to the team then he is a good pickup

And now to Matty Boyd who admits he reached his potential thru sheer hard work which also if passed on to the group and accepted as the norm again good pickup

Those two qualities toughness ,hard work for mine if the whole club mantra succeed we must

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Pies2016 



Joined: 12 Sep 2014


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:24 pm
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As always, love your work, W L.

Just for a bit of fun, who is your early tip for a break out year ?
No pressure of course but your nomination ( s ) will be forever recorded in print.
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warburton lad 



Joined: 26 Aug 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:39 pm
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Pies2016 wrote:
As always, love your work, W L.

Just for a bit of fun, who is your early tip for a break out year ?
No pressure of course but your nomination ( s ) will be forever recorded in print.


Training the house down- Crisp/Fasolo/Aish/Smith/Langdon.

I think Broomhead will have a super year- his body seems far more solid and his track form has been brilliant.

And Fasolo seems really happy and is working like a Trojan.

So for me, Broomy, The Faz and Langdon

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