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Training report 18th December 2017

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warburton lad 



Joined: 26 Aug 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:06 am
Post subject: Training report 18th December 2017Reply with quote

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." (Vince Lombardi- American football coach).

It's a warm Melbourne morning as the mercury nudges low twenties heading towards the thirties. The roads from Melbourne's outer-east reveal the reality that Christmas is but a week away. Whilst the lawns need a clip and the house needs painting, I have far more pressing matters to attend to as I resolutely make my way to the Holden Centre for my final time in 2017.

Every AFL club has a level of professionalism of which they can be proud- it is one reason that this competition we love is played by athletes as finely-tuned as one can get them. As our players arrive, they collect their heart monitors/GPS, sunscreen, hats as needed and fluids are freely available. Collingwood immortal, Jock McHale would have celebrated his 135th birthday on December 12th had he still been with us. One wonders what the greatest of all coaches would have made of the technological advances and micro-management that is such a huge part of Australian Rules in this century. Like champion players, I'm convinced that McHale would have been as wonderful and successful coach in this era as he was in the Club's Golden Age.

Absentees: Fasolo, Greenwood, Moore and Elliott.

The players hit the field with an energy that is patently obvious and flys in the face of the weather that confronts them. Although not near the 33 degrees forecast, it is still quite warm and not a day for those who are timid about the heat.

My report today focuses once more on the outliers of our squad; who is performing well and what interventions are being employed by the coaching staff to lift the standards ( collective and individual) of our playing group. The warm-ups have players paired off, kicking/ hand-balling to each other. Last week, Isaac Quaynor and Mason Cox made an interesting pairing as they practiced disposing of the Sherrin under the watchful eye of assistant Garry Hocking.

Again, my furtive imagination drifts back to thoughts the mighty Jock watching on from Heaven. One wonders what he would make of Collingwood training session where a young man from Ghana indulged in a kick-to-kick with a seven foot giant from the United States whilst being coached by a name who once changed his name to 'Whiskas'.???

The Ox is moving more freely this week. His programme has 'rehab' written all over it and he is 100% invested in it. At 24 and with 31 games under his belt, it's time for The Ox to make his mark. There is little doubt that the other players both like and respect him and his interactions with each of them are both positive and encouraging in nature. While rehab is a tough gig and the earth is slow, this Ox is patient and I hope that 2018 sees him in tip-top shape with form to match.

Rupert Wills is somewhat delayed in his preparation for 2018. Today, he seems to still be troubled by a right leg ailment. He performed with distinction in the latter stages of the 2016 campaign before he was betrayed by his body in 2017. At 192cms and 87 kilograms, he can provide the sort of inside-mid grunt to release the likes Treloar, Wells, De Goey and the Rolls-Royce, Pendlebury to inflict scoreboard carnage on our prey. In this session, Wills is clearly pushing his body to get himself in top condition but today he leaves the track at a little after ten. He is one of a clutch of players that hold the key to whether a resurgence is possible in 2018. If those outside our best 22 can ramp up the pressure on those in our best team, the team/club can only benefit.

The improvement in Tim Broomhead can be attributed to one clear reality- he is able to participate fully in this pre-season. I was reflecting on the first time that I saw the number 29 and Grundy train with the Magpies a few years back. Whilst their latent talents were patently clear for all to witness, their lack of 'the tank' required to be consistently competitive at the highest level was also evident. Now that Broomhead can make repeat contests, and impact upon them, gives one cause for immense optimism that this can be his breakout year.

Tom Phillips, like Blair, is often the target of the wrath of fans. Although not a premiership player like 'Wee-Man', Phillips shares Blair's dedication to his craft and work-ethic on the training track. I'm not sure what numbers, in terms of kilometres covered, the number 21 racks up this sunny Monday, but he appears to have modelled his running patterns on those of the reigning Copeland Trophy winner, Sidebottom. No sooner does he have the ball in the back half, then he completes an attacking move well inside attacking fifty. His work earns praise from Assistant Coach Boyd whose elevation to a highly regarded player for the Western Bulldogs came after initial reservations about his capacity to play at the level.

Max Lynch trained really well today- the former Murray Bushranger is a late convert to the game from soccer and he would be considered by some the prototypical 'project player'. My perception of where he is at is somewhat more bullish. At 198 cms and nudging 100 kilograms, he is quite the unit. His tremendous willingness to improve his craft and the kilometres he is putting into his body are evidence of a young player who will never have to wonder whether he had given his chance at a career in the AFL everything he had.

Christmas is only a week away, but there are few presents on display at the Holden Centre. What is present is the presence of a collective ferocity for improvement. Tackling, pressure on the ball carrier and speedy and precision ball movement have been the overarching themes and emphasis of this preseason from this observer's viewpoint. In addition to this, the new coaching voices appear to have been welcomed warmly by the playing group, their new ideas and drills adopted and implemented effectively.

I have a very clear sense that our football department ( players and coaches) are united, acting in harmony and deriving enjoyment from what they do. And ten-out-of-ten to our fitness man who has our boys in top shape and working very hard, often removing them from drills to do top-up fitness tasks. Jock McHale once held the VFL record for most consecutive games (191 between 1906 and 1917) a record he held until 1943. Again, he would love the fact that one of the measures of the playing list moving forward would be their durability.

The modern game demands that each player have a chameleon streak in his DNA. Whilst there will always be specialists in certain positions, every other foot soldier must have more than one string to his bow to maximise his value to the team. Crisp is the latest to put his hand up to develop another aspect of his game. His body of work up to the Christmas break has been outstanding; increased running power, less reliance on his dominant kicking side and greater strength and ability to hold his ground and impact on marking contests. He will be an asset off half back in 2018.

Training doesn't officially start until 9-30, but by 9-10, senior players Howe and Reid are out stretching and chatting with the fitness folk. It's indicative to me that these guys, now joined by Magden, Stephenson and Murphy, are really keen to get down to work.

Maynard, left knee heavily strapped, has a gentle kick to kick with Adams. Kirby presents in very good condition, weight loss patently obvious. I'm not sure about his 'Mr T' haircut, but he's looking in great shape. My behemoth friend from the East, Pies08 excitedly passes comment to me on the way to get his second raspberry and white muffin instalment for the morning that De Goey may be "... our Dusty!"

It's interesting to make a familial comparison of body-shape between Brown Mark 1 & 2. It's very clear to see that Callum has a 12 month head start on his younger bro Tyler by the cut of his figure. With a good twelve months in the gym, Brown, the younger, will be ready to be rolled out.

Hoskin-Elliot ( right knee lightly strapped) and Coxy ( right shoulder) are the only players other than Maynard who have obvious strapping this morning. The players begin at 9-30 with old fashioned 'Indian-File' ( youngest to oldest) with Murphy, T Brown, Appleby, Stephenson, Daicos and Lynch leading the pack and Sack, Varcoe, and Dunn bringing up the rear.

The 'thwack' of body on rubber tackling bag as Lynch and Cox practice their palming with Rocca can be heard from thirty metres away. The enthusiasm of both big men to dint the bag is obvious. Over on the eastern flank, the 'Fasolo-Elliott' replacement group vie for the chance to step up: Goldy, Kirby, Daicos, Murphy, Stephenson, Mayne, Varcoe and Josh Smith strut their stuff as defenders try and stop their offensive efforts. Importantly, once the attacking move has stopped, the 'wannabes' have to defend ferociously to stop the easy exit from the back half. It is in succeeding in this aspect of the drill that players earn the maximum plaudits.

A rehab group of Sier, Pendlebury, Oxley and Callum Brown walk and jog alternately around the perimeter of the oval. Grundy and Hoskin-Elliott are also running laps but at full pace and with little sign of flagging- Grundy is as fit as he has ever been and will be a beast in 2018.

As usual, small groups of players break away from the main group. The Lad notices that our three most important players in 2018, De Goey, Reid and Wells form one such group and their passing over forty metres to one another is imperious.

A handball practice match in a confined space of 30 metres by ten sees Mayne and De Goey shine. No one can stop the brilliant number two as he breaks tackles at will. Experienced football manager, Geoff Walsh, comes out at 10-15 and casts an eye over proceedings. He would no doubt be pleased at the sight of Pendlebury, The Ox, Treloar and Aish moving, unimpeded by injury.

The next handball group commences and Josh Daicos, Sidebottom, Smith and Mihocek shine. Tyler Brown gives and exciting glimpse of why he was drafted- his evasion and burst of pace from stoppages a joy to behold. As the drill becomes more intense, Cox accidentally 'coat hangers' Brown but the young man soldiers on. Boyd encourages greater ferocity in defensive pressure and Crisp obliges with a crunching tackle on young Murphy. This game is unforgiving and our young recruits and rookies are not being spared.

By 10-25, the sprints are on, from wing to centre and back again; several times. This is punishing work, but our Magpies are up for it. As they rehydrate at 10-35, our head coach works his way around the group offering words of encouragement and pats on backs dripping with sweat from exertion in a mid-morning sun straining to break through the milky cloud cover.

A full- ground practice match begins with Bucks barking instructions and observing proceedings from the Board Room balcony. On the ground, Hocking and Harvey oversee scenarios which begin in the centre square. A ball spills forward to Mayne whose momentary fumble enables De Goey to lay a punishing tackle.

Murphy excels off half back and his slicing kick through the centre hits a leading Crocker lace out. Smith is once again prominent and his leading is notable as is Reid's (full forward) and Wells off a forward flank.

Maynard dominates the centre clearances using speed and enhanced muscular definition to advantage. To be balanced, this is done in the absence of Greenwood,Sidey, Pendlebury and Treloar.

At 10-45, McLarty has to be assisted off the track by several trainers. Whilst limping slightly and favouring his right leg, he appears weak and dizzy and, one hopes, that it is only an adverse reaction to what is now a very warm morning and can be alleviated by rest and rehydration and not the dreaded 'big-knee'.

Training resumes and there seems to be emphasis this morning on transitioning from the back half by switching sides quickly and exiting along the opposite flank without the back-tracking so ( annoyingly) evident in recent years. Dunn's voice can be heard from The Glasshouse Cafe. He trains at match intensity and does not surrender easily in any contest. Similarly, acting Captain for the day, Adams, barks orders at teammates around the expectations.

A sublime Cox tap out hits a fast-moving Wells whose scything pass hits Mayne on the lead. The resulting point is a poor return for what was outstanding centre square work. The ball is driven back inside fifty once more where a deft spoil from Reid is beautifully crumbed by Maynard who is front and centre and snaps truly on his trusty left.

By eleven o'clock, no player on the track is untouched by the unrelenting heat. It's fabulous to see the old salts working their way around the group giving encouragement to their teammates to continue their assault on the flag. A physio works on Daicos' lower back, but the Macedonian Marvel ( 21st Century edition), jogs, unimpeded, back to the flank as match practice resumes on a ground shortened by fifteen metres at each end.

Match ups of interest: Maynard on Aish; Murphy on Tyler Brown; Mihocek on Varcoe; Daicos on Adams.

Not sure who is playing on rookie Magden, but he is picking up disposals at will. Stephenson wins a contested possession and feeds off to Maynard who kicks his fifth. Moments later, Stephenson uses breakaway speed to hit the leading Cox on the chest. Murphy climbs high over a pack, but his hanger is denied by a spoil from Kirby who also elevated toward the stratosphere.

A quick check on my Sportsbet app tells me that Treloar is paying $34.00 for the Brownlow and the Magpies are $5-40 for top four. I will be investing heavily on the former and considering a dabble on the latter with a few Euros I have squirrelled away. He has run for the better part of two hours and he and Goldy make a well-earned bee line for the change rooms.

There are now 26 players left on the track and after a quick chat with CitySlick, my eyes avert back to the action on the track. Maynard, Mayne, Daicos, Smith and Allenby make a strong group in keeping score off and only a determined effort by Phillips deprives them of 'the punishment' of having to jog down to contest at the other circle of truth. All the while, Matthew Boyd's gravelly voice drives the players on. A Murphy intercept wins Blair, Mihocek and Crocker the desired rest and the former St James Year Seven student wins the plaudits of his peers. Pies08, a childhood mentor of this young recruit beams like a proud father, tears welling in his eyes, as he sees the fruition of his formative work with the boy who is now a man. Such moments are priceless to witness.

Murphy's new mentor, Tarks, assembles : Mihocek, Allenby, Tyler Brown, Stephenson and the aforesaid Murphy on the side of the track, congratulating them on their stellar efforts on the track. Murphy is 80kgs, but he is looking to get to 85kgs as he seeks to cement a place forward. He comments that Moore has been awesome in his tutelage and that Darcy may well find a new home in the back half in 2018. The 39 pick informs The Lad and Nicksters, exclusively, that he is inside for a quick shower, team lunch, and then straight into a tough weights session to round out his day- sleep has not been an issue for this young man.

Approximately twenty players remain on the track and they are put through a gruelling running session by the coaches: Scharenberg and Kirby are neck and neck in their contest and Adams, once again, vocalises words to intensify his peers' efforts. Leadership right there.

Vice Captain Howe congratulates the boys on a brilliant training session as they depart the track for the final time at 11-30.

And so ends my reporting on training for 2017. I'm often asked when I see our finals drought ending and our club surging back to the upper echelons of this competition. Like many Magpie fans, I wish our 'El Nino' in terms of September participation would come to a sudden end and we could once again savour the enduring and addictive sweetness of a La Niña of finals action premiership glory once more. September at The G without Collingwood strutting their stuff is like Laurel without Hardy, Sonny without Cher, a pie without sauce.

It's hard to know how quickly a club can turn its fortunes around and, if recent history is any guide, it can be incredibly quick. There are so many elements in 'success' that it's difficult to line them all up at once to achieve immortality in the football sense.
In 1987, our two highest number of games played for that season were Turner-21 games and Matt Ryan-20. Other players who featured often the year included: Graeme Atkins- 18, Grantley Fielke-16, Jason Croall-17, Glenn Howard-14, Paul Rizonico-12 , Brett Yorgey-11, Athas Hyrousalakis-9 and Tim Harrington 8 games. Sobering to note that of those 10 players, only Turner featured on Grand Final Day three seasons later.

It's a shame that there is no definitive list of quotes of inspiration that I can find that one can attribute to the mighty Jock McHale. However, my New Year wish for 2018 for our beloved Club, is that, paraphrasing once more the words of the immortal Vince Lombardi, "... In chasing perfection, we can catch excellence...!"

I wish all Nicksters and their families all the very best for the Christmas and New Year period. I pray that 2018 brings much joy and fulfilment for each of you and for those you love, cherish and hold most dear.

Floreat Pica.

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BazBoy 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:28 am
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✅✅✅ Brilliant as always WL and this is purely a feeling —unsubstantiated
by fact

That there is a breeze of something exciting at Holden centre

As I said an opinion—my opinion for what it’s worth

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glasseyevfx 



Joined: 01 Jul 2017
Location: Gold Coast

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:20 pm
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great to hear Kirby is getting into shape - I hope he cracks it this year.
I'm also interested to hear Mayne getting a mention - he's had his share of criticism I know but I think he could be our mid range wild card as he is capable but just needs to get it together. Would be wonderful to get some return on the investment and good for him to shrug off the last year or two.
Thanks for the report, the older I get the longer the off season, I swear - the trouble you take is appreciated.

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watt price tully Scorpio



Joined: 15 May 2007


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:22 pm
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Top work Mr WL. Love your effort. Have a wonderful Christmans break. Thanks for putting in the hard yards from the Outer Eastern reaches of Melbourne: that's some trek (& dedication).

Good luck to you and your families.

BTW WL, how did KK & CB go today? Cheers WPT.

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Jezza Taurus



Joined: 05 Sep 2010
Location: Ponsford End

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:34 pm
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Thank you for posting, WL. Best training reports in the business.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

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CoastPie Sagittarius



Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Location: Gold Coast

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:22 pm
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Another amazing training report WL. You excelled yourself again,
It's such a pleasure getting this insight to our training as I'm too far away to attend,
When you mentioned "Allenby" are you referring to Flynn Appleby?
A Very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you WL & your family.
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Albert Parker 



Joined: 13 Dec 2012


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:40 pm
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Thanks WL. Enjoy the festive season break.

Think I will pop along on Friday to see how things are progressing, along with my son.

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sherrife Scorpio



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:09 pm
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Love your work WL.
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hermerl 



Joined: 05 Jun 2007


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:21 pm
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warburton lad wrote:
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." (Vince Lombardi- American football coach).

It's a warm Melbourne morning as the mercury nudges low twenties heading towards the thirties. The roads from Melbourne's outer-east reveal the reality that Christmas is but a week away. Whilst the lawns need a clip and the house needs painting, I have far more pressing matters to attend to as I resolutely make my way to the Holden Centre for my final time in 2017.

Every AFL club has a level of professionalism of which they can be proud- it is one reason that this competition we love is played by athletes as finely-tuned as one can get them. As our players arrive, they collect their heart monitors/GPS, sunscreen, hats as needed and fluids are freely available. Collingwood immortal, Jock McHale would have celebrated his 135th birthday on December 12th had he still been with us. One wonders what the greatest of all coaches would have made of the technological advances and micro-management that is such a huge part of Australian Rules in this century. Like champion players, I'm convinced that McHale would have been as wonderful and successful coach in this era as he was in the Club's Golden Age.

Absentees: Fasolo, Greenwood, Moore and Elliott.

The players hit the field with an energy that is patently obvious and flys in the face of the weather that confronts them. Although not near the 33 degrees forecast, it is still quite warm and not a day for those who are timid about the heat.

My report today focuses once more on the outliers of our squad; who is performing well and what interventions are being employed by the coaching staff to lift the standards ( collective and individual) of our playing group. The warm-ups have players paired off, kicking/ hand-balling to each other. Last week, Isaac Quaynor and Mason Cox made an interesting pairing as they practiced disposing of the Sherrin under the watchful eye of assistant Garry Hocking.

Again, my furtive imagination drifts back to thoughts the mighty Jock watching on from Heaven. One wonders what he would make of Collingwood training session where a young man from Ghana indulged in a kick-to-kick with a seven foot giant from the United States whilst being coached by a name who once changed his name to 'Whiskas'.???

The Ox is moving more freely this week. His programme has 'rehab' written all over it and he is 100% invested in it. At 24 and with 31 games under his belt, it's time for The Ox to make his mark. There is little doubt that the other players both like and respect him and his interactions with each of them are both positive and encouraging in nature. While rehab is a tough gig and the earth is slow, this Ox is patient and I hope that 2018 sees him in tip-top shape with form to match.

Rupert Wills is somewhat delayed in his preparation for 2018. Today, he seems to still be troubled by a right leg ailment. He performed with distinction in the latter stages of the 2016 campaign before he was betrayed by his body in 2017. At 192cms and 87 kilograms, he can provide the sort of inside-mid grunt to release the likes Treloar, Wells, De Goey and the Rolls-Royce, Pendlebury to inflict scoreboard carnage on our prey. In this session, Wills is clearly pushing his body to get himself in top condition but today he leaves the track at a little after ten. He is one of a clutch of players that hold the key to whether a resurgence is possible in 2018. If those outside our best 22 can ramp up the pressure on those in our best team, the team/club can only benefit.

The improvement in Tim Broomhead can be attributed to one clear reality- he is able to participate fully in this pre-season. I was reflecting on the first time that I saw the number 29 and Grundy train with the Magpies a few years back. Whilst their latent talents were patently clear for all to witness, their lack of 'the tank' required to be consistently competitive at the highest level was also evident. Now that Broomhead can make repeat contests, and impact upon them, gives one cause for immense optimism that this can be his breakout year.

Tom Phillips, like Blair, is often the target of the wrath of fans. Although not a premiership player like 'Wee-Man', Phillips shares Blair's dedication to his craft and work-ethic on the training track. I'm not sure what numbers, in terms of kilometres covered, the number 21 racks up this sunny Monday, but he appears to have modelled his running patterns on those of the reigning Copeland Trophy winner, Sidebottom. No sooner does he have the ball in the back half, then he completes an attacking move well inside attacking fifty. His work earns praise from Assistant Coach Boyd whose elevation to a highly regarded player for the Western Bulldogs came after initial reservations about his capacity to play at the level.

Max Lynch trained really well today- the former Murray Bushranger is a late convert to the game from soccer and he would be considered by some the prototypical 'project player'. My perception of where he is at is somewhat more bullish. At 198 cms and nudging 100 kilograms, he is quite the unit. His tremendous willingness to improve his craft and the kilometres he is putting into his body are evidence of a young player who will never have to wonder whether he had given his chance at a career in the AFL everything he had.

Christmas is only a week away, but there are few presents on display at the Holden Centre. What is present is the presence of a collective ferocity for improvement. Tackling, pressure on the ball carrier and speedy and precision ball movement have been the overarching themes and emphasis of this preseason from this observer's viewpoint. In addition to this, the new coaching voices appear to have been welcomed warmly by the playing group, their new ideas and drills adopted and implemented effectively.

I have a very clear sense that our football department ( players and coaches) are united, acting in harmony and deriving enjoyment from what they do. And ten-out-of-ten to our fitness man who has our boys in top shape and working very hard, often removing them from drills to do top-up fitness tasks. Jock McHale once held the VFL record for most consecutive games (191 between 1906 and 1917) a record he held until 1943. Again, he would love the fact that one of the measures of the playing list moving forward would be their durability.

The modern game demands that each player have a chameleon streak in his DNA. Whilst there will always be specialists in certain positions, every other foot soldier must have more than one string to his bow to maximise his value to the team. Crisp is the latest to put his hand up to develop another aspect of his game. His body of work up to the Christmas break has been outstanding; increased running power, less reliance on his dominant kicking side and greater strength and ability to hold his ground and impact on marking contests. He will be an asset off half back in 2018.

Training doesn't officially start until 9-30, but by 9-10, senior players Howe and Reid are out stretching and chatting with the fitness folk. It's indicative to me that these guys, now joined by Magden, Stephenson and Murphy, are really keen to get down to work.

Maynard, left knee heavily strapped, has a gentle kick to kick with Adams. Kirby presents in very good condition, weight loss patently obvious. I'm not sure about his 'Mr T' haircut, but he's looking in great shape. My behemoth friend from the East, Pies08 excitedly passes comment to me on the way to get his second raspberry and white muffin instalment for the morning that De Goey may be "... our Dusty!"

It's interesting to make a familial comparison of body-shape between Brown Mark 1 & 2. It's very clear to see that Callum has a 12 month head start on his younger bro Tyler by the cut of his figure. With a good twelve months in the gym, Brown, the younger, will be ready to be rolled out.

Hoskin-Elliot ( right knee lightly strapped) and Coxy ( right shoulder) are the only players other than Maynard who have obvious strapping this morning. The players begin at 9-30 with old fashioned 'Indian-File' ( youngest to oldest) with Murphy, T Brown, Appleby, Stephenson, Daicos and Lynch leading the pack and Sack, Varcoe, and Dunn bringing up the rear.

The 'thwack' of body on rubber tackling bag as Lynch and Cox practice their palming with Rocca can be heard from thirty metres away. The enthusiasm of both big men to dint the bag is obvious. Over on the eastern flank, the 'Fasolo-Elliott' replacement group vie for the chance to step up: Goldy, Kirby, Daicos, Murphy, Stephenson, Mayne, Varcoe and Josh Smith strut their stuff as defenders try and stop their offensive efforts. Importantly, once the attacking move has stopped, the 'wannabes' have to defend ferociously to stop the easy exit from the back half. It is in succeeding in this aspect of the drill that players earn the maximum plaudits.

A rehab group of Sier, Pendlebury, Oxley and Callum Brown walk and jog alternately around the perimeter of the oval. Grundy and Hoskin-Elliott are also running laps but at full pace and with little sign of flagging- Grundy is as fit as he has ever been and will be a beast in 2018.

As usual, small groups of players break away from the main group. The Lad notices that our three most important players in 2018, De Goey, Reid and Wells form one such group and their passing over forty metres to one another is imperious.

A handball practice match in a confined space of 30 metres by ten sees Mayne and De Goey shine. No one can stop the brilliant number two as he breaks tackles at will. Experienced football manager, Geoff Walsh, comes out at 10-15 and casts an eye over proceedings. He would no doubt be pleased at the sight of Pendlebury, The Ox, Treloar and Aish moving, unimpeded by injury.

The next handball group commences and Josh Daicos, Sidebottom, Smith and Mihocek shine. Tyler Brown gives and exciting glimpse of why he was drafted- his evasion and burst of pace from stoppages a joy to behold. As the drill becomes more intense, Cox accidentally 'coat hangers' Brown but the young man soldiers on. Boyd encourages greater ferocity in defensive pressure and Crisp obliges with a crunching tackle on young Murphy. This game is unforgiving and our young recruits and rookies are not being spared.

By 10-25, the sprints are on, from wing to centre and back again; several times. This is punishing work, but our Magpies are up for it. As they rehydrate at 10-35, our head coach works his way around the group offering words of encouragement and pats on backs dripping with sweat from exertion in a mid-morning sun straining to break through the milky cloud cover.

A full- ground practice match begins with Bucks barking instructions and observing proceedings from the Board Room balcony. On the ground, Hocking and Harvey oversee scenarios which begin in the centre square. A ball spills forward to Mayne whose momentary fumble enables De Goey to lay a punishing tackle.

Murphy excels off half back and his slicing kick through the centre hits a leading Crocker lace out. Smith is once again prominent and his leading is notable as is Reid's (full forward) and Wells off a forward flank.

Maynard dominates the centre clearances using speed and enhanced muscular definition to advantage. To be balanced, this is done in the absence of Greenwood,Sidey, Pendlebury and Treloar.

At 10-45, McLarty has to be assisted off the track by several trainers. Whilst limping slightly and favouring his right leg, he appears weak and dizzy and, one hopes, that it is only an adverse reaction to what is now a very warm morning and can be alleviated by rest and rehydration and not the dreaded 'big-knee'.

Training resumes and there seems to be emphasis this morning on transitioning from the back half by switching sides quickly and exiting along the opposite flank without the back-tracking so ( annoyingly) evident in recent years. Dunn's voice can be heard from The Glasshouse Cafe. He trains at match intensity and does not surrender easily in any contest. Similarly, acting Captain for the day, Adams, barks orders at teammates around the expectations.

A sublime Cox tap out hits a fast-moving Wells whose scything pass hits Mayne on the lead. The resulting point is a poor return for what was outstanding centre square work. The ball is driven back inside fifty once more where a deft spoil from Reid is beautifully crumbed by Maynard who is front and centre and snaps truly on his trusty left.

By eleven o'clock, no player on the track is untouched by the unrelenting heat. It's fabulous to see the old salts working their way around the group giving encouragement to their teammates to continue their assault on the flag. A physio works on Daicos' lower back, but the Macedonian Marvel ( 21st Century edition), jogs, unimpeded, back to the flank as match practice resumes on a ground shortened by fifteen metres at each end.

Match ups of interest: Maynard on Aish; Murphy on Tyler Brown; Mihocek on Varcoe; Daicos on Adams.

Not sure who is playing on rookie Magden, but he is picking up disposals at will. Stephenson wins a contested possession and feeds off to Maynard who kicks his fifth. Moments later, Stephenson uses breakaway speed to hit the leading Cox on the chest. Murphy climbs high over a pack, but his hanger is denied by a spoil from Kirby who also elevated toward the stratosphere.

A quick check on my Sportsbet app tells me that Treloar is paying $34.00 for the Brownlow and the Magpies are $5-40 for top four. I will be investing heavily on the former and considering a dabble on the latter with a few Euros I have squirrelled away. He has run for the better part of two hours and he and Goldy make a well-earned bee line for the change rooms.

There are now 26 players left on the track and after a quick chat with CitySlick, my eyes avert back to the action on the track. Maynard, Mayne, Daicos, Smith and Allenby make a strong group in keeping score off and only a determined effort by Phillips deprives them of 'the punishment' of having to jog down to contest at the other circle of truth. All the while, Matthew Boyd's gravelly voice drives the players on. A Murphy intercept wins Blair, Mihocek and Crocker the desired rest and the former St James Year Seven student wins the plaudits of his peers. Pies08, a childhood mentor of this young recruit beams like a proud father, tears welling in his eyes, as he sees the fruition of his formative work with the boy who is now a man. Such moments are priceless to witness.

Murphy's new mentor, Tarks, assembles : Mihocek, Allenby, Tyler Brown, Stephenson and the aforesaid Murphy on the side of the track, congratulating them on their stellar efforts on the track. Murphy is 80kgs, but he is looking to get to 85kgs as he seeks to cement a place forward. He comments that Moore has been awesome in his tutelage and that Darcy may well find a new home in the back half in 2018. The 39 pick informs The Lad and Nicksters, exclusively, that he is inside for a quick shower, team lunch, and then straight into a tough weights session to round out his day- sleep has not been an issue for this young man.

Approximately twenty players remain on the track and they are put through a gruelling running session by the coaches: Scharenberg and Kirby are neck and neck in their contest and Adams, once again, vocalises words to intensify his peers' efforts. Leadership right there.

Vice Captain Howe congratulates the boys on a brilliant training session as they depart the track for the final time at 11-30.

And so ends my reporting on training for 2017. I'm often asked when I see our finals drought ending and our club surging back to the upper echelons of this competition. Like many Magpie fans, I wish our 'El Nino' in terms of September participation would come to a sudden end and we could once again savour the enduring and addictive sweetness of a La Niña of finals action premiership glory once more. September at The G without Collingwood strutting their stuff is like Laurel without Hardy, Sonny without Cher, a pie without sauce.

It's hard to know how quickly a club can turn its fortunes around and, if recent history is any guide, it can be incredibly quick. There are so many elements in 'success' that it's difficult to line them all up at once to achieve immortality in the football sense.
In 1987, our two highest number of games played for that season were Turner-21 games and Matt Ryan-20. Other players who featured often the year included: Graeme Atkins- 18, Grantley Fielke-16, Jason Croall-17, Glenn Howard-14, Paul Rizonico-12 , Brett Yorgey-11, Athas Hyrousalakis-9 and Tim Harrington 8 games. Sobering to note that of those 10 players, only Turner featured on Grand Final Day three seasons later.

It's a shame that there is no definitive list of quotes of inspiration that I can find that one can attribute to the mighty Jock McHale. However, my New Year wish for 2018 for our beloved Club, is that, paraphrasing once more the words of the immortal Vince Lombardi, "... In chasing perfection, we can catch excellence...!"

I wish all Nicksters and their families all the very best for the Christmas and New Year period. I pray that 2018 brings much joy and fulfilment for each of you and for those you love, cherish and hold most dear.

Floreat Pica.


Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." (Vince Lombardi- American football coach).

It's a warm Melbourne morning as the mercury nudges low twenties heading towards the thirties. The roads from Melbourne's outer-east reveal the reality that Christmas is but a week away. Whilst the lawns need a clip and the house needs painting, I have far more pressing matters to attend to as I resolutely make my way to the Holden Centre for my final time in 2017.

Every AFL club has a level of professionalism of which they can be proud- it is one reason that this competition we love is played by athletes as finely-tuned as one can get them. As our players arrive, they collect their heart monitors/GPS, sunscreen, hats as needed and fluids are freely available. Collingwood immortal, Jock McHale would have celebrated his 135th birthday on December 12th had he still been with us. One wonders what the greatest of all coaches would have made of the technological advances and micro-management that is such a huge part of Australian Rules in this century. Like champion players, I'm convinced that McHale would have been as wonderful and successful coach in this era as he was in the Club's Golden Age.

Absentees: Fasolo, Greenwood, Moore and Elliott.

The players hit the field with an energy that is patently obvious and flys in the face of the weather that confronts them. Although not near the 33 degrees forecast, it is still quite warm and not a day for those who are timid about the heat.

My report today focuses once more on the outliers of our squad; who is performing well and what interventions are being employed by the coaching staff to lift the standards ( collective and individual) of our playing group. The warm-ups have players paired off, kicking/ hand-balling to each other. Last week, Isaac Quaynor and Mason Cox made an interesting pairing as they practiced disposing of the Sherrin under the watchful eye of assistant Garry Hocking.

Again, my furtive imagination drifts back to thoughts the mighty Jock watching on from Heaven. One wonders what he would make of Collingwood training session where a young man from Ghana indulged in a kick-to-kick with a seven foot giant from the United States whilst being coached by a name who once changed his name to 'Whiskas'.???

The Ox is moving more freely this week. His programme has 'rehab' written all over it and he is 100% invested in it. At 24 and with 31 games under his belt, it's time for The Ox to make his mark. There is little doubt that the other players both like and respect him and his interactions with each of them are both positive and encouraging in nature. While rehab is a tough gig and the earth is slow, this Ox is patient and I hope that 2018 sees him in tip-top shape with form to match.

Rupert Wills is somewhat delayed in his preparation for 2018. Today, he seems to still be troubled by a right leg ailment. He performed with distinction in the latter stages of the 2016 campaign before he was betrayed by his body in 2017. At 192cms and 87 kilograms, he can provide the sort of inside-mid grunt to release the likes Treloar, Wells, De Goey and the Rolls-Royce, Pendlebury to inflict scoreboard carnage on our prey. In this session, Wills is clearly pushing his body to get himself in top condition but today he leaves the track at a little after ten. He is one of a clutch of players that hold the key to whether a resurgence is possible in 2018. If those outside our best 22 can ramp up the pressure on those in our best team, the team/club can only benefit.

The improvement in Tim Broomhead can be attributed to one clear reality- he is able to participate fully in this pre-season. I was reflecting on the first time that I saw the number 29 and Grundy train with the Magpies a few years back. Whilst their latent talents were patently clear for all to witness, their lack of 'the tank' required to be consistently competitive at the highest level was also evident. Now that Broomhead can make repeat contests, and impact upon them, gives one cause for immense optimism that this can be his breakout year.

Tom Phillips, like Blair, is often the target of the wrath of fans. Although not a premiership player like 'Wee-Man', Phillips shares Blair's dedication to his craft and work-ethic on the training track. I'm not sure what numbers, in terms of kilometres covered, the number 21 racks up this sunny Monday, but he appears to have modelled his running patterns on those of the reigning Copeland Trophy winner, Sidebottom. No sooner does he have the ball in the back half, then he completes an attacking move well inside attacking fifty. His work earns praise from Assistant Coach Boyd whose elevation to a highly regarded player for the Western Bulldogs came after initial reservations about his capacity to play at the level.

Max Lynch trained really well today- the former Murray Bushranger is a late convert to the game from soccer and he would be considered by some the prototypical 'project player'. My perception of where he is at is somewhat more bullish. At 198 cms and nudging 100 kilograms, he is quite the unit. His tremendous willingness to improve his craft and the kilometres he is putting into his body are evidence of a young player who will never have to wonder whether he had given his chance at a career in the AFL everything he had.

Christmas is only a week away, but there are few presents on display at the Holden Centre. What is present is the presence of a collective ferocity for improvement. Tackling, pressure on the ball carrier and speedy and precision ball movement have been the overarching themes and emphasis of this preseason from this observer's viewpoint. In addition to this, the new coaching voices appear to have been welcomed warmly by the playing group, their new ideas and drills adopted and implemented effectively.

I have a very clear sense that our football department ( players and coaches) are united, acting in harmony and deriving enjoyment from what they do. And ten-out-of-ten to our fitness man who has our boys in top shape and working very hard, often removing them from drills to do top-up fitness tasks. Jock McHale once held the VFL record for most consecutive games (191 between 1906 and 1917) a record he held until 1943. Again, he would love the fact that one of the measures of the playing list moving forward would be their durability.

The modern game demands that each player have a chameleon streak in his DNA. Whilst there will always be specialists in certain positions, every other foot soldier must have more than one string to his bow to maximise his value to the team. Crisp is the latest to put his hand up to develop another aspect of his game. His body of work up to the Christmas break has been outstanding; increased running power, less reliance on his dominant kicking side and greater strength and ability to hold his ground and impact on marking contests. He will be an asset off half back in 2018.

Training doesn't officially start until 9-30, but by 9-10, senior players Howe and Reid are out stretching and chatting with the fitness folk. It's indicative to me that these guys, now joined by Magden, Stephenson and Murphy, are really keen to get down to work.

Maynard, left knee heavily strapped, has a gentle kick to kick with Adams. Kirby presents in very good condition, weight loss patently obvious. I'm not sure about his 'Mr T' haircut, but he's looking in great shape. My behemoth friend from the East, Pies08 excitedly passes comment to me on the way to get his second raspberry and white muffin instalment for the morning that De Goey may be "... our Dusty!"

It's interesting to make a familial comparison of body-shape between Brown Mark 1 & 2. It's very clear to see that Callum has a 12 month head start on his younger bro Tyler by the cut of his figure. With a good twelve months in the gym, Brown, the younger, will be ready to be rolled out.

Hoskin-Elliot ( right knee lightly strapped) and Coxy ( right shoulder) are the only players other than Maynard who have obvious strapping this morning. The players begin at 9-30 with old fashioned 'Indian-File' ( youngest to oldest) with Murphy, T Brown, Appleby, Stephenson, Daicos and Lynch leading the pack and Sack, Varcoe, and Dunn bringing up the rear.

The 'thwack' of body on rubber tackling bag as Lynch and Cox practice their palming with Rocca can be heard from thirty metres away. The enthusiasm of both big men to dint the bag is obvious. Over on the eastern flank, the 'Fasolo-Elliott' replacement group vie for the chance to step up: Goldy, Kirby, Daicos, Murphy, Stephenson, Mayne, Varcoe and Josh Smith strut their stuff as defenders try and stop their offensive efforts. Importantly, once the attacking move has stopped, the 'wannabes' have to defend ferociously to stop the easy exit from the back half. It is in succeeding in this aspect of the drill that players earn the maximum plaudits.

A rehab group of Sier, Pendlebury, Oxley and Callum Brown walk and jog alternately around the perimeter of the oval. Grundy and Hoskin-Elliott are also running laps but at full pace and with little sign of flagging- Grundy is as fit as he has ever been and will be a beast in 2018.

As usual, small groups of players break away from the main group. The Lad notices that our three most important players in 2018, De Goey, Reid and Wells form one such group and their passing over forty metres to one another is imperious.

A handball practice match in a confined space of 30 metres by ten sees Mayne and De Goey shine. No one can stop the brilliant number two as he breaks tackles at will. Experienced football manager, Geoff Walsh, comes out at 10-15 and casts an eye over proceedings. He would no doubt be pleased at the sight of Pendlebury, The Ox, Treloar and Aish moving, unimpeded by injury.

The next handball group commences and Josh Daicos, Sidebottom, Smith and Mihocek shine. Tyler Brown gives and exciting glimpse of why he was drafted- his evasion and burst of pace from stoppages a joy to behold. As the drill becomes more intense, Cox accidentally 'coat hangers' Brown but the young man soldiers on. Boyd encourages greater ferocity in defensive pressure and Crisp obliges with a crunching tackle on young Murphy. This game is unforgiving and our young recruits and rookies are not being spared.

By 10-25, the sprints are on, from wing to centre and back again; several times. This is punishing work, but our Magpies are up for it. As they rehydrate at 10-35, our head coach works his way around the group offering words of encouragement and pats on backs dripping with sweat from exertion in a mid-morning sun straining to break through the milky cloud cover.

A full- ground practice match begins with Bucks barking instructions and observing proceedings from the Board Room balcony. On the ground, Hocking and Harvey oversee scenarios which begin in the centre square. A ball spills forward to Mayne whose momentary fumble enables De Goey to lay a punishing tackle.

Murphy excels off half back and his slicing kick through the centre hits a leading Crocker lace out. Smith is once again prominent and his leading is notable as is Reid's (full forward) and Wells off a forward flank.

Maynard dominates the centre clearances using speed and enhanced muscular definition to advantage. To be balanced, this is done in the absence of Greenwood,Sidey, Pendlebury and Treloar.

At 10-45, McLarty has to be assisted off the track by several trainers. Whilst limping slightly and favouring his right leg, he appears weak and dizzy and, one hopes, that it is only an adverse reaction to what is now a very warm morning and can be alleviated by rest and rehydration and not the dreaded 'big-knee'.

Training resumes and there seems to be emphasis this morning on transitioning from the back half by switching sides quickly and exiting along the opposite flank without the back-tracking so ( annoyingly) evident in recent years. Dunn's voice can be heard from The Glasshouse Cafe. He trains at match intensity and does not surrender easily in any contest. Similarly, acting Captain for the day, Adams, barks orders at teammates around the expectations.

A sublime Cox tap out hits a fast-moving Wells whose scything pass hits Mayne on the lead. The resulting point is a poor return for what was outstanding centre square work. The ball is driven back inside fifty once more where a deft spoil from Reid is beautifully crumbed by Maynard who is front and centre and snaps truly on his trusty left.

By eleven o'clock, no player on the track is untouched by the unrelenting heat. It's fabulous to see the old salts working their way around the group giving encouragement to their teammates to continue their assault on the flag. A physio works on Daicos' lower back, but the Macedonian Marvel ( 21st Century edition), jogs, unimpeded, back to the flank as match practice resumes on a ground shortened by fifteen metres at each end.

Match ups of interest: Maynard on Aish; Murphy on Tyler Brown; Mihocek on Varcoe; Daicos on Adams.

Not sure who is playing on rookie Magden, but he is picking up disposals at will. Stephenson wins a contested possession and feeds off to Maynard who kicks his fifth. Moments later, Stephenson uses breakaway speed to hit the leading Cox on the chest. Murphy climbs high over a pack, but his hanger is denied by a spoil from Kirby who also elevated toward the stratosphere.

A quick check on my Sportsbet app tells me that Treloar is paying $34.00 for the Brownlow and the Magpies are $5-40 for top four. I will be investing heavily on the former and considering a dabble on the latter with a few Euros I have squirrelled away. He has run for the better part of two hours and he and Goldy make a well-earned bee line for the change rooms.

There are now 26 players left on the track and after a quick chat with CitySlick, my eyes avert back to the action on the track. Maynard, Mayne, Daicos, Smith and Allenby make a strong group in keeping score off and only a determined effort by Phillips deprives them of 'the punishment' of having to jog down to contest at the other circle of truth. All the while, Matthew Boyd's gravelly voice drives the players on. A Murphy intercept wins Blair, Mihocek and Crocker the desired rest and the former St James Year Seven student wins the plaudits of his peers. Pies08, a childhood mentor of this young recruit beams like a proud father, tears welling in his eyes, as he sees the fruition of his formative work with the boy who is now a man. Such moments are priceless to witness.

Murphy's new mentor, Tarks, assembles : Mihocek, Allenby, Tyler Brown, Stephenson and the aforesaid Murphy on the side of the track, congratulating them on their stellar efforts on the track. Murphy is 80kgs, but he is looking to get to 85kgs as he seeks to cement a place forward. He comments that Moore has been awesome in his tutelage and that Darcy may well find a new home in the back half in 2018. The 39 pick informs The Lad and Nicksters, exclusively, that he is inside for a quick shower, team lunch, and then straight into a tough weights session to round out his day- sleep has not been an issue for this young man.

Approximately twenty players remain on the track and they are put through a gruelling running session by the coaches: Scharenberg and Kirby are neck and neck in their contest and Adams, once again, vocalises words to intensify his peers' efforts. Leadership right there.

Vice Captain Howe congratulates the boys on a brilliant training session as they depart the track for the final time at 11-30.

And so ends my reporting on training for 2017. I'm often asked when I see our finals drought ending and our club surging back to the upper echelons of this competition. Like many Magpie fans, I wish our 'El Nino' in terms of September participation would come to a sudden end and we could once again savour the enduring and addictive sweetness of a La Niña of finals action premiership glory once more. September at The G without Collingwood strutting their stuff is like Laurel without Hardy, Sonny without Cher, a pie without sauce.

It's hard to know how quickly a club can turn its fortunes around and, if recent history is any guide, it can be incredibly quick. There are so many elements in 'success' that it's difficult to line them all up at once to achieve immortality in the football sense.
In 1987, our two highest number of games played for that season were Turner-21 games and Matt Ryan-20. Other players who featured often the year included: Graeme Atkins- 18, Grantley Fielke-16, Jason Croall-17, Glenn Howard-14, Paul Rizonico-12 , Brett Yorgey-11, Athas Hyrousalakis-9 and Tim Harrington 8 games. Sobering to note that of those 10 players, only Turner featured on Grand Final Day three seasons later.

It's a shame that there is no definitive list of quotes of inspiration that I can find that one can attribute to the mighty Jock McHale. However, my New Year wish for 2018 for our beloved Club, is that, paraphrasing once more the words of the immortal Vince Lombardi, "... In chasing perfection, we can catch excellence...!"

I wish all Nicksters and their families all the very best for the Christmas and New Year period. I pray that 2018 brings much joy and fulfilment for each of you and for those you love, cherish and hold most dear.

Floreat Pica.

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BucksIsFutureCoach 



Joined: 12 Feb 2007


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:38 pm
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Thought I saw Greenwood out there training this morning mate. Other than that, perfect reporting as usual.
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HAL 

Please don't shout at me - I can't help it.


Joined: 17 Mar 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:43 pm
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What did it look like to you?
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warburton lad 



Joined: 26 Aug 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:35 pm
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BucksIsFutureCoach wrote:
Thought I saw Greenwood out there training this morning mate. Other than that, perfect reporting as usual.


Hi Bucks...

Greenwood and the non-taped Scharenberg are Doppler-gangers.

Greenwood was meeting with Maxwell in the Cafe at length today.

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qldmagpie67 



Joined: 18 Dec 2008


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:41 pm
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Lad again many thanks for the outstanding report.
I would like to ask your opinion on Scharenberg and how he looks this preseason ?
I for one am hoping he can become the player we drafted.
This is actually his first preseason not in a rehab group.
I'll relate a conversation I had with Leigh Matthews only weeks after that draft.
I asked him about Scharenberg and he replied we had stolen him at 6. He said he thought he wa the most natural footballer on the draft and his composure and skills were perfectly suited to AFL football. He said it was only the questions over his feet stopped him from possibly being a top 2 pick.
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warburton lad 



Joined: 26 Aug 2003


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:51 pm
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qldmagpie67 wrote:
Lad again many thanks for the outstanding report.
I would like to ask your opinion on Scharenberg and how he looks this preseason ?
I for one am hoping he can become the player we drafted.
This is actually his first preseason not in a rehab group.
I'll relate a conversation I had with Leigh Matthews only weeks after that draft.
I asked him about Scharenberg and he replied we had stolen him at 6. He said he thought he wa the most natural footballer on the draft and his composure and skills were perfectly suited to AFL football. He said it was only the questions over his feet stopped him from possibly being a top 2 pick.


Thank you Qld Magpie.

Scharenberg is completely fit and completing every task asked of him. He is not a standout in the overt sense in match practice but has the happy knack of rarely being bested in a contest and maintaining himself in marking battles. There is a very noticeable change when he gets the ball- he is continually looking to give off quickly and use the central corridor to attack. He is not a thumping kick, but uses the football wisely. Cherry ripe for 2018.
I trust that sheds some light on his progress.

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BucksIsFutureCoach 



Joined: 12 Feb 2007


PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:59 pm
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warburton lad wrote:
BucksIsFutureCoach wrote:
Thought I saw Greenwood out there training this morning mate. Other than that, perfect reporting as usual.


Hi Bucks...

Greenwood and the non-taped Scharenberg are Doppler-gangers.

Greenwood was meeting with Maxwell in the Cafe at length today.


I know how it is. I'm still trying to work out who Sam Murray is. I see a long left foot and it isn't coming from Crisp, so I'm guessing I'm watching Murray. Appleby (black fuzzy hair), Stephenson (long arms and short hair) and Murphy (long hair like Chris Mayne) are the easy ones. Tyler Brown is like watching his brother with an extra 6 inches of height. I've given up trying to identify who Madgen is and it didn't help you saying he was getting a lot of the ball because there were a few players getting a lot of the ball. Is Madgen as tall as Max Lynch because I'm looking for a guy around 192cm and there's this big guy about ruckman height who could be Madgen?
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