Numbers line up 2011 tilt

Premiership star Josh McGinnity at training
Premiership star Josh McGinnity at training

By Gary Stocks

Preparations for the up-coming season are in full swing, with strong numbers and depth of talent obvious in the first phase of pre-season training.

With more than 130 players on the track on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Charles Riley Reserve, including a healthy injection of colts talent, the club is well placed to defend its seven successive A-Grade titles.

In addition, the rich vein of talent – as well as some exciting under-19s prospects looking for senior opportunities – means the A-Reserves are also looking forward with confidence towards its premiership defence.

A-Grade stars who missed last year’s flag through injury – including Micky Bryan, Simon Pearce, Josh Bollen and Mitch Holbrook – have all been consistent and impressive in pre-season training while stalwarts like Kyle Riemann, Josh McGinnity, Ben Wilson, Luke Smith, Steve Bandy, Shane Paap and Reece Cunningham all are in good shape.

A number of players who featured in their first premiership for the club in 2010 – including the Nunan brothers, Alex Hack, Aaron Jarvis, Dean Brennan, Matt Power and Mitch Dwyer – have also been prominent in the early stages of pre-season.

Positions for places in all teams will be highly competitive in the seven senior and two colts team, while the clubs will also field a side in the AFL Masters competition. Already numbers for that team also look strong.

The coaching appointments for the 2011 season have been completed with Jay Carroll taking on the E-Reserve Grade. That was the last position still to be filled, leaving the structure as:
A-Grade – Bill Duckworth
A-Reserves – Michael Pratt
E-Grade – Kane Kuenen
E-Reserves – Jay Carroll
G-Grade – Peter Panagopolous
Phil Scott Colts – David Barwick, Gary Stocks
Brett Jones Colts – Daniel Wheeler

The colts squad also boasts good depth and coaching staff will get a better idea of their collective and individual talents when they break away into the Monday/Thursday training cycle from next week.