Musings on an audience with Haiku Bob at Pies training

Another Floreat Pica Society first – a report on a training session….in January.

Haiku Bob and I were amongst a few hundred who watched the Pies train on a perfect morning. Melbourne, who were training at the same time on the next oval, had only about 30 spectators to watch their boys, including the ever heavily-bandaged Beast, go through their paces.

The session comprised the usual drills and a couple of periods of match practice, in which one clear focus was to move the ball quickly from the back half. Heater was gently chided on a couple of occasions for carrying the ball laterally across half-back rather than getting it moving. There was a fairly large rehab and/or rest group which did not participate in the match practice. This group included Daisy (without moon boot for the first time as noted by Cat man Peter Flynn previously), Clinton Young, Travis, Ben Reid, Bally and Goldie. Big Brodie Grundie walked laps, as he apparently has back soreness -as I said to HB before we knew the nature of his discomfort, perhaps it is only that he is wearing uncomfortable “Brodie Grundies.” Boom-tish !

As always, impossible to extrapolate from pre-season training to the real stuff. My dad once noted that Graeme Atkins was “burning”in the pre-season, and Paul and I still laugh about that, his name being the standard for blokes who catch the eye during the pre-season but fail to fire during the season proper. Some observations nonetheless :

– we have some seriously big units on the list now – Grundy is a man/boy mountain, Witts an entire mountain range and Ben Hudson was the standout ruckman in the match practice. With Lachie Keefe (who is moving well post knee reco), potential cult figure Q Lynch (who took plenty of grabs during match practice against N Brown) and Jols, we have some serious size on the list
– rookie Michael Hartley stood out during match practice – impressive in the NAB Cup and VFL last year before being struck down by injury, he has size and athleticism that make him a good key back prospect over the next couple of years
– Krak and Caff both moved well as they return from their returns from knee recos. Krak’s touch and reading of the ball is extraordinary
– the absence of Cam Wood, Simon Buckley and Luke Rounds does not appear to be hurting us at this stage
– Ben Kennedy is very small but oozes class -the competition for small forward spots is already intense, but hopefully we can get some senior footy into him this year
– the former basketballer Ben Richmond gives the ball a massive hoof. In some end of session goalkicking practice he was hitting the top of the net behind the goals (and through the goals) from 50-55 metres. Not sure if he can get the ball, but if he does…
– in terms of appearance, Swanny looks a bit trimmer than last year, Blairy needs some work on his haircut and Sinclair has the sort of haircut that one could reasonably expect from a former Scotch College boy who is desperate to receive his first Brownlow vote (despite having featured prominently in last year’s Danny Roach voting).

Notwithstanding all of the above, there was one bloke who was a standout for the session. After shedding several kilos and returning from a calf injury sustained during his fitness blitz, his sure hands and slick disposal caught the eye of all, despite him having only one possession. When Nathan Brown smashed the ball away from the Q-Stick over the fence into the crowd, Haiku Bob nonchalantly took it with one touch and gave it off quickly to Heater to bring back into play. Stirring stuff. It was great to see HB, who is enjoying life in Stockholm. He told me a ripping yarn about his involvement in the Swedish AFL competition which you can read about here.

HB and myself can also be spotted in the bottom photo taken at training here  and featured (this may well be a slight over-statement, as the camera whizzed past us) in the Fox Sports news last night as well as the video on the Pies website.

Twenty-nine sleeps until the first NAB Cup game

Floreat Pica


  1. “the absence of Cam Wood, Simon Buckley and Luke Rounds does not appear to be hurting us at this stage”

    Understatement of the year Steve and it’s mid January! Hudson will be important this year to help Jolly and the development of Witts. The itch is starting.

  2. Sorry I couldn’t make it Steve and Bob, I am still down the coast. Thanks for the wonderful report Steve, I am much encouraged. All those ruck alternatives and a full set of fit small forwards and almost a full set of midfielders. Roll on season 2013…..and a safe trip back to Sweden, Bob.

  3. Jeff Dowsing says

    “the absence of Cam Wood, Simon Buckley and Luke Rounds does not appear to be hurting us at this stage”

    As opposed to their presence hurting us last year!

  4. Steve Fahey says

    A match report on a training session turns out to be so much harder than a match report on a game – twice as many players, many of whom I’ve never seen in the flesh before !!

    Unfortunately the big lump of a kid with the huge hoof wasn’t Ben Richmond, but might have been Tom Boyd who is expected to be a high draft pick next year. What a shame !!

Leave a Comment