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  1. #1
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    A lot more fans there today, plenty of photo opportunities for the youngsters with Weightman and Bailey Smith the most popular amongst the fans. Fox footy and were there and there might have been someone from the Age as well.

    The ground had a few brown and uneven patches which were checked by the coaches and given the all clear.

    The structure of the session followed a fairly normal path
    Stretches --> Some light running --> Kick to kick drills that kept extending out --> Speed development --> Various footy drills

    During all of these drills there was a lot of talk amongst the group with team mates being acknowledged for the good efforts.

    Managed Workloads
    I'm not sure if it's because of the increased tempo of the sessions over the last week but there were a number of players in and out of this group today.
    Treloar, West, B,Smith, R.Smith, Clarke and Ugle-Hagan were in the group early but later on Marra returned to full training. Crozier just walked some laps as a precautionary but there no concerns.
    Treloar with an ankle is just a bit behind but he is apparently still on schedule for round one.
    While West has been in this group for a while he still looks in great condition and is also right for round one.
    Roarke Smith has had a bout with gastro and has dropped a couple of KG's. He will be right soon enough.
    Bailey Smith is just a bit sore and did a bit of running and goal kicking practice from the boundary with Rhylee West. I wouldn't say that this is a strength of theirs especially when you consider Treloar nailed both of his shots.
    Ugle Hagan did some light running before joining in the various drill.
    Clarke is being managed with a tight lower back. Busslinger spent time running with Roarke Smith.

    Footy Drills

    The sessions were done at a quicker pace than normal and the tackling was also vigorous with Duryea copping a corkie and O'Brien peeling off to have his calf looked at before returning to the main group so no problems there.

    The first session involved the footy being kicked to the forwards who needed to mark it and go back and nail their set shot. Naughton, Khamis, Lobb and Darcy really caught the eye. Darcy just timed his leads so well and did a good job converting his shots.

    Another drill involved players taking the kick in and working the ball all over the ground

    While it might seem that a few of the boys are getting a bit behind I don't think there is a lot of concern that we won't a near full list to chose from come round one.

    Rohan Smith ran a session where players had to gather the tumbling ball along the boundary line and kick the ball to the nominated coaches. The expectation was that he wanted players to explode out and gather the ball at pace and to pinpoint their pass.
    Some players did this exceptionally well Like, Richards, Keath, L.Jones, Garcia, Bont and Hannan and a few others and some really struggled with it like Bruce and A.Jones. Arty kept over cooking his kicks and Bruce certainly wasn't clean off his right foot.
    Cody Raak was given a bit of praise because of the way he kept attacking the footy.
    Smith kept up the commentary of what he expected and especially when it worked or failed.
    Great session that was done at full pace and a quick momentum.

    Varcoe and Maddocks ran a session for 5 on 5 where Varcoe would knock the ball in various directions and one team would gather the ball and have to kick or handball it to their team mates.

    Another session had players handball the footy under very congested situations.

    Every 7 minutes players would move to the next discipline.

    Some of the highlights:

    Richards, Bont, Daniel and Keaths kicking skills were just brilliant. I must single out Tim English for his field kicking. Each kick hit the target in two sessions I watched.
    Bailey Williams is another who shone today, plenty of the coaches yelled out "well done Truck"
    Lobb kicked a long goal from 55mtrs out and it went through by a couple of mtrs. He is going to be a handful for the opposition.
    Weightman and Garcia are really standing out in most sessions for not only the way they throw themselves into their work but also the high quality of the footy skills.
    Darcy, McLean and McNeil were really nailing their kicks.

    I think we are in a great grove with our training sessions. They're well organised and have a lot of variety plus the talk and encouragement with the group is first rate.

    As always, if you have some questions I'll try and answer them.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  2. #2
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Don't think I can add much more to the very good reporting by others from today's training session, but here goes....

    I was a keen watcher of McNeil and McComb's disposal efforts and thought they did well today - I guess it will be different under true match conditions, but they were hitting targets often enough this morning.

    There was some individual ruck tuition happening late in the morning with Sweet and English getting advice from Lade while Darcy worked with Martin one on one (Lobb wasn't included in this small get together(?)). What was interesting from Lade was his focus on what the rucks can do with their hands/arms as the ball is being tossed up and before the two rucks actually jump for the ball. it was almost 'judo' like watching the arm/hand actions they were practising. Martin separately was spending time with Darcy around the positioning of his legs in the ruck role. Bit hard to describe but opened my eyes to the ruckman's options around 'positioning' before they jump etc ie it isn't all about out-jumping the opposition.

    In some of the drills mentioned above there were some nominated standouts, so I want to look at the players still needing work and Cleary, Jones, Sweet and Gardner are all in that bucket from today's showing. All had disposal issues from time to time.

    I note Mat has nominated Bedendo for Rd 1 - I am not of that same opinion. He does look good on the training track, but there were enough others training today for that same position (ie high half forward) who look equally at home and work a bit harder on the training track namely Johannisen and Hannan.

    Spent time watching Liam Jones and Keith (thru binoculars) and think they nail two of the tall defender roles first up.

    Enjoyed the training drills - I think Rohan Smith will have laryngitis this evening for all the yelling he does during the drills - he is super encouraging but also calls it as he sees it (as mentioned by previous posters).

    Duryea went off 3/4 of the way thru the session with an ankle. Hopefully pulls up ok soon.
    Anyone can support a team that is winning — it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage, so lets always be behind our boys and girls in red, white and blue.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Very much a lighter session today with a number of players just going through the motions of the warmups and some light drills

    3 running groups included a few of the guys on the managed workloads, the main group and another that seemed to have the majority of our taller guys but not all of them.

    Managed workload
    B.Smith, Richards, Garcia, Liberatore, Bruce, Cleary, Ugle-Hagan, Bedendo, Vandermeer and Crozier. A few of them left early.
    No sign of Treloar or West.

    Skill Drills
    Decided to follow Matt Spangher working with various groups where they had to initiate a wrestle push off and mark the ball and in slightly wet and windy conditions some of the players skills really stood up. A high level and high intensity session where Spangher kept spruiking "Let me hear you"
    One that performed well was Busslinger who was timing his leads perfectly and executing his kicks.
    Some great precision type passes by Bontempelli and McComb drew praise by the coaches in fact despite under cooking one of the kicks McComb was very precise with his passes.
    After 7 or 8 minutes another group would rotate through.

    Similar marking session to the other day with the Ruck pad and a pool noodle used to simulate contact when the player is taking their mark.

    With the weather conditions deteriorating and a number of players heading off I called it a day myself.

    A few players to call out

    Cody Raak - He's come a long way from the first session I attended. He really listens intently to the coaches and other players and seems to an improving player. If effort counts for anything he should have a stronger season.

    Buku Khamis - Just shows signs of rapid development. I can recall BT asking me to get along and watch him play for the Jets and I caught a game against Oakleigh a few years ago and he was primarily an intercept and creative HBF.
    He still has those skills but he is now an effective option as a forward who can hold a strong grab and still be competitive on the ground. He has really come a long way in the last 12 months and he could be poised for a very good year.

    Lachlan McNeil - My criticism of his game has been his disposal but I have to say it does seem to have improved during this off season. If he can nail a higher percentage of goals he could be an asset for us this year. He works hard at all the training sessions.

    I was quite surprised and happy to see Brian Lake having a look at training today.

    By the way, I was told Fridays session will be a big one.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  4. #4
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Was at training today but only lasted 45 mins watching from the side of a windy and rain swept oval.

    Just adding to G's notes above....

    West was at training today and joined in the various drills/groups rotating around the ground (I have the benefit of binoculars G). Also Roarke Smith was up and about so must be over his tummy bug or whatever from Monday. O'Brien also completed all training drills (has been in and out to date).

    Others rested/not present (in addition to G's list above) were Caleb, Gallagher, Richards and Duryea. I didn't see Bevo either but I may have missed him.

    A few players to call out (following G's lead):
    West - watched him intently to check for any 'gingerness' with any training drills eg stretching for ball, tackling drills, landing awkwardly and he appeared all good
    Darcy - I am a little surprised how well he trains and competes in the drills (including ruck drills). I guess I just expected him to be another 'tall' that would come good when he is more mature.
    Scott - there was a training drill with about 7-8 players per team and the two teams separately had a couple of minutes to discuss 'tactics' (i guess) before re-engaging and it seemed Scott was calling the shots for his team. it wasn't the most experienced grouping of players, nonetheless, it took me by surprise they deferred to him calling the shots in this instance.

    And for those that like a bit of idle talk (and a bit of a laugh)....I think I am picking up a new 'bromance' at the club for 2023 - two guys who I wouldn't have picked in Libba and Caleb. (well someone has to keep up the tradition of being part of a 'bromance' at the Dogs).
    Anyone can support a team that is winning — it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage, so lets always be behind our boys and girls in red, white and blue.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    It's a good summary from Mark Stevens that BAD posted.

    The day started off exceptionally well with a few more supporters there than normal and a bit of buzz of a scratch match to follow.
    The players really made it easy for the supporters to get some photo opportunities and signatures from the players. Bailey Smith is just so approachable and engages the youngsters with questions in a very genuine way.
    Weightman and Liberatore also popular with the fans.

    Normal start to the session with stretching --> resistance bands work --> light running and some speed development before some of the footy skills work in groups of 3 players.

    Always amazed to see how well Tim English uses the footy off both feet. He's no longer that gangly foal like he was when he first arrived.

    Skill Drills
    About 3 skill drills in the session that I was able to focus on
    One I call 'full stretch footy' where the group of players move the footy towards the forward and every kick needs to be out wide (but not too wide) so that the players mark the ball at full pace or at full stretch.
    I think the aim is that there to be no chest marks and because of the pace of the drill it really tests the skills of some players with some doing it a lot better than others.

    The next one is a 'keepings off' session in groups of about 5 v 5 where the controlling team keeps moving the ball around and they should take it in turns of kicking off their preferred and non preferred feet. Toby McLean was sensational at shutting down players and even picked one off with a good interception. Buku Khamis was also a spirited performer.
    Josh Bruce was poor off his right foot and kept kicking it with his left. He needs to do some work on that if he is to play in the back line. He is an enthusiastic communicator and really imposes himself with his team mates though with plenty of encouragement.

    The last drill is done in close and it's all about pressuring the kicker.

    This would really sharpen up the group of the scratch match.

    Managed group
    Quite a few players in this group today including Busslinger, West, B.Smith, R.Smith, Vandermeer, Gallagher and Duryea.
    Treloar not on the field but at the ground. I don't think I saw Clarke.
    Gallagher brought his boots out and it originally looked like he was going to play before changing the jumper for a singlet and doing some runs.

    A lot of Footscray boys there to help make up the numbers. The Footscray coach Stewart Edge was the to help organise the players.
    Sullivan, Garner and Poulter stood out but I think there might have been about 10 Footscray boys there. Hopefully Smads can add some more detail here.

    After some more exercises it was time for the scratch match with the classic good old fashioned encounter between:
    'The Possibles' vs 'The Probables' ......actually it was just Blue vs White but that sounded a bit boring.

    Line ups
    Sweet, Raak, A.Jones, Dale, Garcia, Sullivan*, McLean, Khamis, Baker, Daniel, Richards, Hannan, Bruce, Macrae, Keath, Cleary, Bedendo, L.Jones and McNeil.

    Poulter*, Rantall* McComb, Lobb, Weightman, Liberatore, Garner*, English, Ugle-Hagan, Bontempelli, Darcy, Naughton, O'Brien, Gardner, Scott and Williams.

    We basically pitted our best defenders against our best forwards like Jones vs Lobb and Keath vs Naughton and we rolled some of our defenders into the midfield like we have done with Daniel during the practice games.

    Bevo pulled a great move with Weightman into the midfield in a swap with McComb "Flea get into the midfield and swap with Robbie"
    and the Bevo genius was in full play.

    Weightman made an immediate impact and did well not only in the centre clearances but around the boundary throw ins and general play.

    McLean, Weightman, Richards, Bontempelli, English, Darcy and Gardner all stood out today.
    The Lobb injury was a bit strange in that normally you would expect when a player injures and ankle it more from a high mark attempt more than a 1 v 1 push and shove for position wrestle. Lets hope it's a minor hiccup for Lobb and the club.

    I'll write up some more a bit later. Apologies for the delay.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  6. #6
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    Nov 2014
    Inner west
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Went along this morning and as usual G is right across what was on show.

    As noted there were a smattering of VFL extras helping out - G has already mentioned Sullivan (first time I have seen him train this pre season) as well as Garner and Poulter who both had stints pre Xmas in the scratch match (are these two players possible train on options?)

    There were only two other 'extras' participating in the match sim - I didn't recognise either from our 2022 VFL team but am sure they were two that were helping out with match sim pre Xmas. Ewan McPherson was not one of them. Tyler Brown now with Adelaide.

    My thoughts on the match sim:

    Most ruck contests were between English and Sweet - thought Sweet held his own, but on occasions, English wasn't afraid to rove his own ruck work - didn't notice Sweet trying the same option.

    Others have mentioned Lobb finishing the match sim earlyish,but he was on the ground for a long enough period to note he wasn't involved in any ruck contests when the ball was in his forward 50. Instead Naughton took on these ruck contests (else English) NB English, Naughton and Lobb all played for the white team. Lobb not taking any ruck contests really surprised me.

    As mentioned by Stevo, Darcy played defence as did Bruce while Khamis played forward along with Raak for the Blue team.

    Thought Caleb was excellent (have decided I am putting a tenner on him for the Brownlow if he starts midfield in Rd 1).

    G has mentioned the players still being managed and I am starting to wonder if our Round 1 team may be minus both Treloar and B Smith. If so, we have two hard working options in McLean and Garcia who were both prominent I thought today (Garcia playing midfield and McLean on a wing).

    Libba was another stand out and Macrae got his hands dirty often enough - of course Bont was Bont (and another obvious one for a tenner Brownlow night).

    Marra and Naughts did some nice things for the White team while Buku really fought almost a loan hand for the Blue team up forward - his improvement over the years playing VFL to now is really great to see. Hope he gets game time in 2023.

    A player who surprised me on occasions was O'Brien with some good intercepts.

    The 'twins' - Scott and McNeil got a few possies - but I think Scott is in front of his 'brother' at this stage. Scott played wing as did Bailey Williams who complemented his game with some nice disposal work.

    it can't all be a bed of roses however, so some criticisms - I wasn't happy a couple of times with Keath - takes too long to move the ball on, then seems to think he can beat the man on the mark and ends up turning the ball over. G has already noted Bruce having some way to go with his disposal out of defence.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Lets go through some of the players today

    Darcy vs Khamis

    Darcy played full back was great very poised and competitive. He has easily transitioned from the managed group into full training.
    Khamis was a lively forward who presented well and made the most of his chances. He drew a lot of praise for an athletic spoil during one of the drills.

    Bontempelli vs Daniel
    Bont was brilliant as expected and his field kicks were powerful and accurate. A bit of push and shove between the two at contests.
    I think Daniel is on loan as a midfielder during these match simulations but he is making a powerful case to be included in the rotations.

    English vs Sweet
    English was impressive today dominating around the stoppages and just outreaching Sweet in nearly all contests
    If there is something to learn from a trouncing then Sweet needs to be a quick learner. He wasn't bad but came up against an inform opponent.

    Gardner vs Bedendo
    Gards is now very much a reliable player and reads the ball in the air so well. A great mark and a spoil caught my notice
    Bedendo was a bit quiet but this youngster has some traits that others don't have. One good mark and a bit of a run and carry stood out.

    Jones vs Lobb.
    Jones really warmed to his task and while he was out maneuvered in one of the early contests quickly made amends with an intercept mark.
    Lobb started well and was very noticeable. Shame about the injury but I'd be surprised if it's serious.

    Williams a magnificent baulk and foot skills on display.
    McLean put in a near BOG effort. Used the footy well and pressured his opponents. Encouraging signs.
    Richards a time intercept mark and poised kicking skills.
    Weightman took a turn in the midfield and excelled at it. You can't do this if you want to be a forward
    Garcia with plenty of work through the middle acquitted himself well.
    Liberatore worked so hard and linked up a couple of plays

    Keathy can do better and take the first option
    And Brucey if I can see you avoiding using your opposite foot during some of the skill drills so can the coaches. Get to work on it.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  8. #8
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    Nov 2014
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by GVGjr View Post
    Looks like we have 3 youngsters training with the boys this morning.
    Noticed the 3 youngsters as well and they were not the same players who were involved in match sim from Friday.

    You mention G in a seperate post that one of the players was young Croft. I was guessing they may be a combination of F/S and U18s - I just didn't expect Croft would have a son with long blonde locks.

    Of the other two boys, one must have been carrying an injury (as he only ran laps), while the third boy was of North African descent. I had thought it was Buku at one stage until they stood together and realised we had a +1.

    Treloar and Crozier left early as did Clarke (asked him what was wrong and he said 'soreness'). Keith was a no show. B Smith ran laps then left after an hour or so

    Buss and Gallagher participated in half the drills then joined managed players.

    Other players rested from Friday's match sim ie Duyrea, West and R Smith participated in all drills as did Lobb (who had that 'ankle' issue on Friday).

    No match sim today, just various drills.
    Anyone can support a team that is winning — it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage, so lets always be behind our boys and girls in red, white and blue.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Thanks Smads for the brilliant report.

    Some other notes:
    Sam Power there today, perhaps having a look at the academy youngsters but he and a couple of others parked themselves in the shade to observe.
    Jordan Croft joined the group for all the exercises. He's long and lean just like BAD would have ordered and is both a very decent runner and kick. I didn't pick up on any problems he had keeping up with the group or with his skill execution. All-in-all he looks a nice prospect for us and drew some praise from Rohan Smith. "with a "nice one Jordan"
    The youngster with a likely African heritage did well in the drills but probably wasn't quite as prominent and the 3rd player was training more with managed group but was a quick runner for his size and when running laps with Busslinger had him covered for pace.

    Smads has covered off the managed group but I will add that players frequently roll through there during some of the exercise drills.
    For example Lobb and Ugle -Hagan started there after the warm ups but once Lobb had proven his ankle was stable after some impressive sprints and stop suddenly drills watched by our sports science guys he quickly returned to the main group.
    Similarly Ugle-Hagan did some running before also returning to the group which is something he frequently does.

    Today's session was very much a high intensity one aimed to test the endurance and stamina of the playing group. Clearly it was about lifting the work rate and testing the players. As a result the coaches were in full voice and lifted the expectations on the playing group.

    Stretches --> Some light running --> Speed development and then on to the skill drills was the schedule.

    Skill Drills
    Triangle style groupings during the kicking drills that started in close distances with the expectations they players used both their preferred and non preferred feet.
    This progressed into some longer kicks, dropping the ball before scooping it up and eventually into running around the triangle.

    Some of the groups I focused on were:
    Khamis - Dale - Macrae
    Cleary - McLean - Gallagher (Gags missed a few kicks)
    Richards - Daniel - Baker
    Duryea - Liberatore - West (Westy can get pissed with himself and others)
    Bruce - Weightman - Ugle-Hagan (Bruce was a lot better with his right foot kicking)

    A lot of the drills were really pressure and congested based and not many of them are wide open footy although moving the footy quickly seems to be the aim.

    3 groups spread around the ground would do 7 minutes before running at full tilt to the next drill.

    Where I was positioned I got to hear a lot of Rohan Smith coaching the players and he was really upping the ante with the players.
    He kept barking out his instructions "Take the mark" "Use your legs" "Find the gap" and then later during a defenders vs forwards drill
    "Stay relevant" "Are you relevant?"

    The aim of the drill was for one of the defenders to clear the footy only for one of the mids to drive it right back. The forwards were trying to clear some space to lead into and the defenders were working overtime to try and cut off the gaps and intercept the footy
    Players were rotating frequently and the work rate was testing the players. Tempers were occasionally raised a bit when an error was made or a poor skill execution but they shook that off quickly and got on with it.

    The next drill had the defenders clearing the ball along one wing and Rohan Smith let Richards know when he made a decision error.
    Richards knew he missed an opportunity with poor decision making and after making his point and the lesson learned they both got back on with it.

    Now something that brought a smile to my face was that during the goal kicking drill, and given the players had worked bloody hard, they had 3 of the coaches that including Bevo standing on the mark with their hands raised so it had to be done right.

    The coaches were really intent on working the group hard today and I think they more than achieved that aim.

    Some of the players that caught my eye

    Johannisen really pushed himself in the running and was one of the leaders throughout the day.
    Khamis just keeps taking timely marks and he is getting better with his foot skills
    Darcy is progressing from his interrupted December and is going to be a great player for us. He's come a long way this month.
    McLean was impressive in all of the drills. We've really missed having him at his best.
    Richards has really improved his running and his skill work is amazing.
    O'Brien didn't make a mistake today and even got an intercept mark.
    Williams kicking was a feature.

    If you have any questions I will try to answer.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  10. #10
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper View Post
    I love reading this thread.
    Can I ask all who have been attending which player or players have surprised you by being a bit better than you might have thought?
    I'll have a go. In no particular order...

    Sam Darcy - I just sort of expected him to be another big lumbering 'kid' who would need a few seasons and a few kgs before really cementing a spot in the best 22, but having watched him this pre-season, there is a lot to like about what he can do already. He is a good mark, kicks well and seems to have game smarts.

    Riley Garcia - he looked ok when he played those few games last year, but I thought he would find it difficult to cement a spot in our best 22 with the competition he currently has for that small fwd role ie McNeil, Weightman, West, McLean, Scott, Clarke, Jones, McComb. These guys will all be looking to fill just two positions at most in our best 22 and I think he could be one of them.

    Buku Khamis - I really wanted him to do well having followed him for a while in the VFL and then last year for a limited period in the senior side. What I have noticed is a greater confidence - almost a 'I belong at this level' (considering his Cat B status initially). He looks big and strong, is a lovely kick and a good overhead mark. The challenge for him in 2023 is finding a spot in the side. He would be a great option for the 23rd man role (as can play both fwd and back and even in the ruck at a pinch!).

    Toby McLean - you are always wary of a player who has had an ACL returning to his pre injury form and with Toby having had two ACLs, it makes it an even bigger challenge for him, but he has convinced me this pre-season he is in for a good year. With Hunter and Dunkley moving on it should help him gain a place in our best 22. Its then up to him to cement that position.

    And finally Cody Raak - I watched him play a lot of VFL last year and the kid was playing fwd one week then back then fwd then back and so on, and as a result, he never really made an impact in games. I actually expected him to be delisted at the end of last year (a la Parker) and believe his Cat B status probably saved him from the chop. His pre-season has been alright, not outstanding you understand, but alright. He seems to have worked hard on his fitness (something I thought he lacked last year) and plays his role as best he can in practice drills and in the match sims I have watched. I don't see him breaking into the 2023 team unless we have a major series of injuries, but with another year of VFL under his belt he could become another swingman for us in 2024 and beyond (keeping in mind Bruce and O'Brien are nearing the end of their careers).
    Anyone can support a team that is winning — it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage, so lets always be behind our boys and girls in red, white and blue.

  11. #11
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Hopefully Smads trekked to Skinner Reserve today to add some additional commentary.

    Academy and Father son players there again today. I haven't confirmed yet who the 3rd youngster is but he went well in the various drills.

    About 15 players rotated through the managed group and some players came and went quickly. I was told some were heading back to the gym..

    McLean, Treloar, Clarke, Hannan, Keath, McComb, Bruce, Liberatore, B.Smith, Garcia, Naughton, Naughton, Daniel, Bedendo and Crozier all started in the rehab group before Gallagher, Vandermeer and English rotated through there later on.

    The sessions followed the normal set-up

    Stretching --> Light Runs -->Speed development and then out for some triangle work with the footballs before the more drill specific sessions.

    West shadowed Bontempelli in the running drills which means he was pushing himself as one for the lead runners. It might be a sign of a growing confidence in his fitness and running abilities so I will keep an eye on that going forward. Years back I can recall Dunkley leading the group in similar type running drills and he went on to have a good year.

    The playing group was split into two with most of the bigger boys on one group and a more midfield type group that also had Ugle-Hagan and English in it. It was good to see the normally quiet Macrae encouraging and pushing on a few of the boys near him to keep up.

    During the forward/ midfield and defensive session the lesser numbers meant the remaining players had to work hard and the coaches weren't cutting them a lot of slack but maybe if I am to be a bit critical they didn't call them out for errors like they would have on Monday.

    As BAD requested, I kept a bit of eye on Cleary who did OK but he does float his kicks a bit albeit he doesn't appear to make any errors. I will try and track him a bit closer.

    I'd normally do some brief comments about a few players but I got asked if I could go into a bit more detail so here goes:

    Darcy was phenomenal is some of the forward drills and it's good to see him fit and firing after a cautious and managed December. He obviously has a distinct height advantage in some marking contests but his ability to gather in half volleys and scoop the ball off the ground at pace for someone of his size is impressive to say the least.
    One of the things I have noticed about his marking over the last couple of sessions is that at times it's almost like he tries to squeeze the air out of the football when he marks it. This is not like he has trampoline hands and the ball spills from them but when it's executed well it's a very decisive mark. For what it's worth I'd be training him more as a forward this year but he will do well regardless.

    I'll add some more comments a bit later.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Just adding my thoughts to the contributions so far. I had a look this morning and arrived towards the end of the warm up. As mentioned earlier it seemed to be a session with less load on the legs suggesting that they have done some big running off site somewhere recently.

    Most of the drills were more craft related and mostly tailored around the area of the ground/player type of each individual.

    When they split the KPP into 2 groups I went to the end where Rohan Smith was taking some players through some defending/attacking scenarios. The first drill was designed to replicate the situation where a forward has got out the back (goal side) and the defender is pushing back hard with his back to the forward, picture Dale Morris thrusting himself back and engaging a forward who has the sit on him and you should get the picture. The kicker was varying their position and even adding an extra possession before the long kick to make the defender and forward adapt.

    The newer players tended to struggle with this drill but received lots of hands on coaching, Gardner, Bailey Dale and Liam Jones stopped several times to explain to other players what they could try. Darcy took a big mark over Liam Jones, almost reached over him and plucked it from behind. Darcy struggled a bit more in the same position when he had to defend and was pushed under the ball a couple of times.

    Went across and watched the mids do some boundary throw in work. Stef Martin and Lade spent quite a while doing individual work with Sweet before the started the drill. It was basically just replicating a throw in with 5 on 5 and some specific positioning. Off the top of my head Baker, West, Weightman, Bont, Macrae, Scott, R.Smith, Williams, Garcia were involved in this. Weightman, Scott and Smith were swapped out mid drill to do some forward/defender craft. Weightman won 2 clearances in a row at one point with his agility in traffic looking a point of difference. It should be noted that Smith, Treloar, Libba, Daniel and maybe McLean were missing from the mix when I was watching. Not sure that Libba and Daniel were even out there.

    The mids group then swapped into a drill designed to replicate the kick required after a surge out of a stoppage, basically a tap to a hit zone with a runner driving their legs through traffic then a kick to position.

    The next drill I watched was more forward/defender marking and positioning craft with pool noodles and bump bags. They toned this down at one point due to concerns on players landing heavily and made the defender back off after the initial contact and give only token pressure. The pool noodles and bump bags continued the pressure on the marker.

    There was also some kicking to position that was designed to work on the trajectory of kicks. A coach would stand in between the kicker and receiver with his hands in the air. The idea is to get the ball there as flat as you can while clearing the defender. It wasn't someone manning the mark, more replicating the defender standing on a 45 to the mark or positioning in a zone. If I am honest lots of players missed targets with this but it was a depleted list of players and was quite hot in the sun. I thought it was a fairly lethargic session in general really.

    Some other observations in a session that didn't contain much ball in hand or tactical training.

    Gardner just looks like an absolute pro and is an unbelievable shape. Strikes me as as someone who doesn't miss a rep and does all the extras. Has a high level of attention to detail in these types of sessions.

    Players seem very encouraging to the young players that are out there and Croft in particular got some attention off the coaches.

    Cleary doing some one on one defensive work on his own with coaches after training.

    Darcy is so long when he is on the move, just seems to make kicks that you feel are past him.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Inner west
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Quote Originally Posted by dog town View Post
    He was never going to be able to hold down a key post he was always going to be best utilised playing a higher intercept role, he didn’t get many chances at that last year. I have him a fair way back with our extra depth now but he is far better positioned now that he has had some continuity with his body.

    Best thing he can do is bang the door down with performances. We know Bevo will play him if he is performing but the bar might be a bit higher with the additional talls. I did have a concern that his athleticism had dropped away last year so will be keeping an eye out.
    Adding to DT's thoughts.....

    I have been keen to watch O'Brien this pre-season given he had an interrupted 2022 pre-season. I mentioned in a post the other week I had been impressed with his performance in a match sim. He didn't dominate or the like, but he was solid - what you would want from a defender.

    Like DT however I struggle to see where he gets a game with the recruitment of Jones, the growing dependability of Gardy, Keath looking like he might be back to something like 2021 form and Bruce (and to a lesser extent Darcy) training with the backline group at present. Dale and Richards can also play slightly taller if needed.

    He's very much a 'break glass' when needed player I suspect - not a bad option however going on his pre-season form. Might he represent another 23rd player option (like Buku)?

    G and DT have already talked about Weds (yesterday's) training which I also thought lacked a bit of energy when compared to other 'training drill' only sessions. It has already been mentioned a number of players were with the 'managed' group (wasn't really happy to see English and Naughty amongst that lot) with a number of players leaving Skinner reserve early.

    A couple of things....

    I spoke to some of Luamon Lual's (NGA) mates that were down from Warrnambool - if he is surrounded by friends of this calibre, he will have good support if he gets to play AFL. He is quite slight but was involved in all the drills on the day. I asked if they knew if he would be playing match sim (if there is one this Friday), and they said he hadn't been advised yet.

    Thought Crofty's son looked ok again today. Not only participated in all the drills but was able to hold his own when the players were asked to run from one drill to the next in another part of the ground. I mentioned the other day him having long blonde locks - in fact he has long brown hair (not a Bailey Smith clone after all!).

    The third invited NGA/F/S player also looked good - he seems older than the other two boys. He only ran laps Monday but yesterday was involved in all the drills. He looked a likely player - don't know who is is however.

    Noticed Treloar having a kicking session with VDM and Gallagher around the hour mark and thought this was the first time I had seen him kick a ball (usually just completes running drills). It might be the start of something more coming from him. Bailey Smith was also involved in some kicking drills at one stage.

    Clarke again didn't complete much training (if any) and made an early exit. I don't think we will see him (if at all) get game time in the first half of the year with his preseason being effectively naught post Xmas.
    Anyone can support a team that is winning — it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage, so lets always be behind our boys and girls in red, white and blue.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Saw most of the intra club today. Few quick notes below but will add more later on.

    First qtr the coaches were blowing their whistle in general play to get everyone to stop so they could coach positioning. There was a lot of organising between the players which was great and the coaches would drop the ball in a certain area of the ground. After that we had regular 15 minute qtrs., by my count there was no Gardy, Keath, Daniel, Treloar, Smith, Crozier.

    Kept a close eye on how we were defending the ground as a team and a back 6. No huge changes that I can see and nothing earth shattering about the way we will defend but likely more attention to detail.

    - Our defenders were all squeezing the ground up and pressing quite high in that 50-80 metre bubble from the ball which obviously drags the forwards up.
    - I did think the deepest anchor defender seemed to play back shoulder earlier rather than that assertive 5-10 metres in front. Usually they don’t do that until the ball is close enough to goal for their opponent to reset and get themselves facing the ball inside 50. Today it seemed like they were doing it just past half way although Smith was encouraging the higher defenders to back themselves more and squeeze and push higher.
    - a big emphasis on the ruckmen sitting back to intercept when the ball was in our attacking 50. This is nothing new but seemed emphasis on it from players and coaches which might be a benefit of Lobb coming into the forward 50. English still pushed forward hard at times but if it was a slow play (oppo ball in hand) or a deep stoppage English was positioning himself and the players were all making sure he was the spare. This is basic stuff but like I said there seemed a big emphasis on it.
    - My take is that we are all in on playing those big forwards with the intention that we cut out intercepting and give our players a chance to defend the ground. Very noticeable in the first 2 quarters that it was hard to get a clear possession coming out of D50 (couldn’t find a mark under pressure) at both ends and there was very few intercepts. It is often choppy early in those intra clubs but it seemed particularly tough in the clinches at the feet of those talls.
    - I followed Rohan Smith because you can get more of an insight on what we are trying to do.
    - Player driven emphasis on mids and forwards rolling up to defend/locate quickly on turnover. Could really see players scrambling particularly the forwards to get up the ground and clog the space for 45s etc.
    - Little bit concerned with the chemistry of the tall backs minus Keith and Gardner today. Jones did a good job, Darcy had the most aerial presence of the defenders but the ball got out the back a few times where it had to be marked by us and they spoiled each other.
    - Smith constantly coaching Darcy and Bruce on positioning with Bruce actually asking if he was in the right spot a few times.
    - Richards is just going to be so important. Was our best runner, ball carrier and dropped off to help as the third man up so many times. Would have been the leading interceptor on the ground.

    Some notes on other aspects of the game

    - Both forwards lines functioned better as the game opened up
    - Thought we struggled to move the ball early but it got much better and the coaches were emphasising getting it forward quickly I noticed. Mclean did a big U turn at one point and dumped a long ball and got some praise for getting it forward.
    - My eye sight is getting worse so I could only see my side of the ground but it looked like Weightman went on ball late.
    - Libba, Bont and Macrae on one side so that team dominated territory with English mauling Sweet particularly early.
    - Naughton reasonably well held by Jones most of the time.
    - Lobb struggled with chemistry a little wasn’t in many marking contests. Was rucking when English rested forward. Will get better with each game I think.
    - Jones timing out a little in the air but his defensive work was strong.
    - Bruce disposal is an issue back there but was looking to attack late and looks in great physical condition. Impressed that he was trying to run off, did his job defensively just a worry with ball in hand.
    - Darcy had real presence in the air and just positioning himself to intercept but spilled a few. Took a big clunk in the middle of all our talls early which the crowd loved. Looks comfortable with ball in hand, definitely want him facing our goal to defend and not getting turned around.
    - Mclean nearly the best player out there I thought. Got some assets we don’t have much of around the ball.
    - Thought Roarke shaded Baker on the wing when they were opposed.
    - Weightman very lively and moving well.
    - English tired late to my eye and started to get beaten at times.
    - Mentioned earlier but Ed Richards is about to go up a long way on the importance scale in my view.
    - Buku was good in the B team took maybe 3-4 marks inside 50.
    - Busslinger looked good in the air late as a forward.
    - Scott was good.
    - English clearly the biggest marking presence on the ground.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Re: Preseason Training for 2023 Season

    Luamon Lual and Jordan Croft were there again today plus the 3rd player might be a delisted player from another club who appears to be training with us but in a modified program. I will try and find out who that is.
    A number of Footscray boys including a couple that I really couldn't identify.
    Sammy Power and Dom Milesi there today.

    2 AFL umpires to work with us today.

    A few players in the managed workload group: Treloar, B.Smith, Keath, Gardner, Crozier, Busslinger, Gallagher.
    I didn't see Daniel or Clarke on the field but I wasn't in my normal vantage point.

    Normal set-up with the warmups

    Stretches --> Resistance bands --> Some light running before getting into some skill drills and ball movements

    I noticed a sharp lift in intensity.

    A few skill drills including the triangle drill with 3 players starting off with short passes before expanding out to long and higher kicks and moving around the ground, instinct drills, full ground drills that test the foot skills and decision making and some 3 on 4 keepings off that really work on skill execution, communication and cutting the angles defensively.

    Much like last Fridays match sim, there were the normal fast starts that look like the game has started but once the ball is worked out of the square the coaches call a stop and start working with the group about where they should be positioned.
    They did this two or three times before resetting the stop watch and starting the game proper.

    With Keath and Gardner doing a lot of running Darcy was moved back into defense and was originally matched against Lobb.
    English was impressive not only in the ruck but also taking marks forward and in the back line. Tim is set for a big season.
    Sweet performed a lot better and matched up against both English and Lobb and did a power of work.
    Flea Weightman took a turn again in the midfield and once again made an impact. I can see him being used to give us a spark.
    Ugle-Hagan was pushing right up the ground and did a few nice things. At one stage Darcy was pitted against him
    The number two draft pick vs the number 1. That's worth the price of the admission on it's own
    Weightman was all over the ground including deep in the back line when he took his stint in the midfield.
    Bontempelli was a class above, all over the ground, and our skipper is super fit and his kicks off either foot are penetrating.
    Lobb is going to be a real threat as a deep forward. He understands the game and is good on the lead or marking the high ball
    Darcy is excellent at reading the ball in the air. He got out-marked and out-positioned by Lobb a couple of times but is a quick learner.
    Macrae was solid and did his normal trademark accumulation of the footy.
    Baker was a solid contributor today not brilliant but provided some run and dash.
    West caught the eye a few times and he positioned himself nicely and used the ball well. He's fit enough based on today's effort
    Duryea was him normal steady and reliable self. His is a relaxed and easy kick.
    McLean has gone from strength to strength this summer. Midfield time and an effective forward today and really is close to his best.
    Bruce was a bit of a disappointment today. He competes well in the air and 1 v 1 contests but as previously reported his disposal off his non preferred foot and how slow he is to get ball to boot could be a challenge for him.
    Jones was a solid performer and did his trade mark interceptions. He made an error or two but even caught Bont and got himself a free kick.
    Richards was once again a brilliant performer. His kicking skills are exceptionable and he really communicates well with his team mates.
    Liberatore is as good as ever. He appears to have added some muscle this summer and he is still an important midfielder for us.
    Plenty of chat and effort from Libba today and he was one of the best.

    I'll add some notes for the balance of players a bit later.
    Western Bulldogs Football Club "Where it's cool to drool"

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