BY BROOKE VARNEY.
Coburg’s preseason is well and truly underway, having just completed its third week of the training program.
Despite there being many new faces to replace those who decided to move on during the off-season, Assistant Coach Ben Osborne has been impressed by some of the returning players’ attitudes as they develop into leaders.
“We’ve seen a lot of blokes already step up since those leaders have left; the guys have realized that they need to be the ones now,” Osborne said.
“Being a young group as well, it’s really exciting to see some players take that next step in their leadership.”
Osborne noted the enthusiasm around the club, as the team continues to work hard right up until the Christmas holiday.
“There’s a really good feel around the club at the moment, it’s been really positive (to see) some new players come in and set the standards.”
“There’s no use holding back until after Christmas; we want our players to know the gameplan as well as they possibly can so we’ll be getting into some footy stuff and match-simulation very soon,” Osborne explained.
“The boys have come back pretty fit, and with the high performance team having their second year as well we feel we are already more advanced than when we took over last year.”
“Hopefully this second preseason will show a lot of improvement.”
2018 joint Jim-Sullivan Medalist Marcus Lentini may be off the track in the rehab team, but looks forward to getting back out there very soon.
“I’ve just been trying to nurse my bruised ankle, but all the boys look in good knick so hopefully it’s a good year.”
Lentini enjoyed the preseason camp at Corowa, admitting it was a great chance to get to know some of the new additions, and has also noticed a positive feel among the playing group.
“I don’t think those leaving will have any impact on the group; all the boys are really positive and we’re only going to go up from here,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to getting into the (season proper) next year, where we can hopefully string a few wins together and develop into what is a nice, tight group.”
After a solid season with Old Trinity while being part of North Melbourne VFL”s program, new recruit Liam Whelan is also excited for next season.
“The first couple of weeks here have been pretty good, the culture is great and the boys are great,” he said.
“I haven’t played a VFL game before, so I’m definitely stoked to even be part of a VFL system and hopefully get a game (next year) and see what I can do.”
Whelan wants to work on his fitness during the preseason, feeling it is the “point of [his] game where [he] really needs to step it up to keep at this level”.
Latest signing Tom Simpson from Hurstbridge and Essendon VFL is another new Lion excited by the opportunity.
“It’s been enjoyable getting around a new group, obviously it’s a bit difficult not knowing anyone coming in but it’s a good bunch of guys and a good coaching group,” Simpson said.
“(This preseason) I want tot get my fitness base to a VFL level, where I can be able to compete with the elite players on opposition sides who will probably be on AFL lists.”
Like Whelan, Simpson also wants to get a taste of VFL football, admitting “it’s been difficult cracking into it at an AFL/VFL club”.
“I want to get back to playing footy, rather than being around a group training.”
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