Match simulation and game style are the focus for the Western Bulldogs on the training track says assistant coach Steven King, as the group move into an intensive training block with the NAB Challenge less than seven weeks away.
Following a two-week break over Christmas, the Bulldogs have been back in training for a fortnight and King says the coaching group have been pleased with the players’ progress.
“Now match play is obviously a lot more significant in training, we’re doing 20 minute halves now and from that… breaking down more game style specifics of stoppage structures, kick ins and zones.”
King says the coaching group is ultimately looking for players to step up and adhere to the new standards and structures that have been put in place under the guidance of new Senior Coach Luke Beveridge.
“Just to continue what Luke (Beveridge) wants to try and bring across… Just pretty much taking the game on and building on the base of fitness that we had put in place prior to Christmas.
“(We’re looking for) guys that are willing to have a crack regardless of the consequence, but probably just not playing it safe by being aggressive and assertive in everything they do.”
Particularly impressive has been the pre-season efforts of midfielder Lin Jong, who King says is making the most of his opportunity following an impressive VFL finals series, alongside Brett Goodes and Nathan Hrovat, who King also identified as having notable influence on the track over the summer.
King also lauded the performances of the Club’s off-season recruits, Shane Biggs, Joel Hamling and Tom Boyd.
“Biggsy’s ready to go, he’s a ready-made player coming from a good program.
“Joel Hamling’s been really good down back and Boydy after a slow start is getting his fitness base back in.
“He’s just been really important in down the line contests that we’ve had so far, so (we are) starting to see the big fella assert his influence on training and in games.”
The Bulldogs will host Richmond at Victoria University Whitten Oval for their opening NAB Challenge match on Saturday 28 February.