Crio’s Q: The pre-season grind

The serious stuff is about to start but no doubt the clubs have been putting the players through some pretty interesting pre-season drills over the summer.

And variations of such things would have filtered through to suburban and country level pre-seasons.

There’s bound to be a story or two out there of a training drill going awry or players doing what they could to avoid a particular exercise.

Bring on your pre-season stories, folks!


  1. I’m sure there’s a Richmond fan out there that could tell the full story behind the Tiger players stopping off at a pub during a summer run, and getting found out by T-shirt Tommy.

  2. Andrew Fithall says

    I was near Williamstown beach on Sunday with Mark Hunter who looked over the water and said that is where the Bulldogs did parachuting as a pre-season exercise. They did their preliminary training out at Pakenham (I think). They were on the ground watching an instructor (not one of theirs) do a jump. Due to an error by the parachutist – one of the other instructors said he was showing off – the jump went amiss and as all the players looked on, the bloke hit the ground and was killed. Surprisingly, the club went ahead with the exercise, but Mark himself said he was not participating. However, on the day of their own jump, Mark was spectating from the beach when the first group hit the water. Regaining his courage, he was in the car and out to Point Cook, from where they were taking off, to have a go. Needed to be pushed from the plane because he had frozen but is pleased he took part.

  3. johnharms says

    Always loved turning up to pre-season to see the keen, fat bodies running around. Especially loved the array of jumpers from all over Australia – VFL, SANFL, WAFL etc, country jumpers, school jumpers etc. Always a few you had never seen before. Always shows how mobile we are as a people and that we go to where the work is.

    Got absolutely slaughtered one year when we seemed to do the Indian file round the oval drill, where the bloke at the back had to sprint to the front. Never seen a bloke grind away for a full lap like Mudguts Hudson, to get to the front. Excruciating.

    Also recall coaching (school) senior basketball one year when we didn’t have a huge amount of talent (adequate though). We could either toss it around and do the Magic Johnson thingo, or we could play tight. I asked the lads whetehrt hey wanted to have fun or commit to a winning year, and concentrate on defence. They chose the latter. We got super-fit. And won a lot of low-scoring early games. Then it all opened up. A,azing what a bit of confidence, and improvement will do. They deserved the premiership.

  4. Pre- season training.

  5. johnharms says

    AF, The story of Mark Hunter and the parachute jump is told by Martin Flanagan in his terrific book Southern Sky, Western Oval. The other to refuse at the first hurdle, noly to go back and try again was Dougie Hawkins himself.

  6. Remember making a comeback at age 28. Hadn’t played footy for a few years because I’d been running. Went to my first session veru unfit and fat but trained the house down. However on the way home I began to feel crook and had an unstoppable urge to empty my bowels. I had to stop the car in the middle of Templestowe and sprint to the side of the road to a tree that (hopefully) concealed my activities.

  7. #6. How’s that tree looking these days, Dips? Did the extra fertilizer help?

  8. Gigs #7 – there’s a plaque next to it now. Its called the tree of hope.

  9. I did pre-season with Swan Districts (in the WAFL) in 1980. I went down with a friend, Gavin Outridge, who went on and had a successful career with the Swans. I was really just making up the numbers. I still remember it as the hardest training I have ever done. This was pre all the hoopla we have now we phsyios, cardio etc. I played 5 minutes of a scratch match and tore a cartlidge. John Todd was the coach. He came in to see me in the change rooms, while I was icing the knee. He checked how I was (gone for the season) and then in passing told me that he wasn’t going to keep me on the list anyway. C’est la vie.


  10. Rick, Swans were a great side that year, and throughout the early 80’s. Making up the numbers in that squad is some achievement.

    Torn cartilage or not you probably could have got a game for the mighty Demons.

  11. #9 and #10. I think Jonathan’s right, Rick. Don’t undersell that achievement. It’s very impressive. I’ll be even more impressed if you submit your ladder to me.

  12. Rick Kane says

    Hi Gigs, it’s coming … tonight!

    I found my true calling when I found the couch.

    One of my brother’s son plays Under 16s for the Royals. He looks the goods.

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