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Day 3 diary: Build up to big week

Matt Burgan  January 18, 2016 9:30 AM

Day 3: Sunday, January 17

7:30am

I start the morning on the Simon Goodwin mini-bus, who takes his crew out to the Kawana Sports Precinct.

There are six mini-bus drivers on the camp, with coaches Daniel McPherson, Ben Mathews, Brett Allison, Jade Rawlings and player development manager Shannon Byrnes also the other steady drivers in heavy traffic.

Goodwin takes coach Paul Roos and wife Tami, manager of development Brendan McCartney, game analysis and education coordinator Craig Jennings, plus players Matt Jones, Dean Terlich, Mitch White and Joel Smith out to the complex.

Before we depart the Twin Waters complex, an early morning discussion centres on recent movies watched. 

Roos gives Mission Impossible 5 a big pump up and fair enough too. I thought it was a pretty good blockbuster.

McCartney chimes in: “Have you seen the latest James Bond?”

My ears prick up. And it’s fair to say I get excited about the prospect of a Bond conversation.

Roos says he isn’t a big fan of the latest 007 flick.

McCartney is a huge fan of SPECTRE.

“I like to be entertained when I go to the movies,” he says.

As a Bond nut, I can understand why there are some questions about it. It appears to be one of the most divisive 007 films of all-time. Some either love it; others not so sure. I’m a big fan of it. But it took me the second viewing to put it in the top echelon. I rate it that highly.

As for the Day of the Dead pre-titles scene – it’s a corker. 

If we were to talk about the latest Star Wars – The Force Awakens … well, the jury is still out for me. 

8:45am

Preparation begins for this morning’s sessions, consisting of flexibility and meditation, upper body weights, education and craft on the ground.

Elite performance manager Dave Misson brings the group together with a piercing whistle. He could work on the farm!

Misson says it’s an important day for the players, emphasising that the work that’s put into today will prepare them strongly for Monday’s training session at Maroochydore Multi-Sports Complex. 

“Get yourself up for tomorrow,” Misson says to the players.

The strong message out of all of this is that main training sessions are so critical in the life of an AFL player that preparing for them is akin to preparing for match day.

Before the players break off into the groups, Roos stresses to them that they must “crank it up” and get the best out of themselves. He urges them to find a way to lift their intensity and really concentrate on taking their efforts to the next level.

He concludes by saying: “Let’s have a really good day and get something out of it.”

The positivity around the group is genuinely noticeable.

9:30am

With the sessions under way, players disperse around the complex.

For roughly the next three hours, the groups rotate between the activities.

In the gym, draftee Clayton Oliver digs deep; Jesse Hogan works closely with McCartney in a craft session and Tom Bugg makes the most of each session.

Bugg reflects on a productive morning, particularly after he was “pretty stiff” following Saturday’s main training session.

“We’ve had a big focus on our preparation to be almost game-like going into training, so it’s been pretty good so far,” he says.

“I started in the weights group and we powered our way through it. When we finished that, we had education with Goody and Twig (Jade Rawlings). We did some defensive stuff with Twig and then then some offensive stuff with Goody.

“From there, we went into our craft session, which focused on our hands and stoppage work. After that, we did some meditation with Tami [Roos] and then finished off with a screening session, which included flexibility and mobility.”

Bugg can’t speak highly enough of the meditation sessions with Tami Roos.

It’s a new addition to his program since joining Melbourne from GWS, but he’s already noticed benefits.

“It gives you the chance to reset and it works for me. I’ve done it a few times since I’ve been at the club, but I’ve already found it to be good,” he says.

With the session completed, players head back to Twin Waters for lunch and a breather.

2:30pm

Jim Plunkett, a facilitator from Leading Teams, oversees the session for the next two hours.

A tenacious and hard-working footballer, Plunkett played 47 AFL matches for the Western Bulldogs and Carlton from 1999-2003. He has since become a key member of Leading Teams.

Plunkett spends roughly a day a week at Melbourne throughout the year.

He says today’s session is all about “standards and behaviours”.

“It’s about setting up some really clear standards and behaviours around what it means to be a Melbourne player and put the jumper on and what we want to represent this year,” he says.

“There are some expectations of the playing group and of each other. The coaches are involved and they [add] what they want to see from a Melbourne player.

“From the session today and up here, it’s about leaving [the pre-season camp] with a really clear understanding and blueprint in terms of where we want to take the culture and the team’s behaviours.”

4:30pm

Physio and massages take place for the next two hours before it’s another choose your own adventure in the cooking stakes.  

Hogan reveals that in his household – featuring Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca and Sam Weideman – that McDonald is the head chef.

McDonald’s Thai green chicken curry gets the thumbs up from the 2015 NAB AFL Rising Star winner, which he says is “very, very good” except for the “burnt rice”.

“I’m lucky enough to have Tommy Mac again [as a roommate]. I had him last year and I think he quite enjoys cooking. He’s quite good at it,” he says.

“Tommy, the big Weed and Track – it’s a pretty interesting group because we’re all young, but it’s been really good so far.

“Tommy’s a bit of a father figure for us, so we just listen to him and we do most of the cleaning and he does most of the cooking, but it’s been good.”