We all read in the newspapers about the clubs gradually coming back from the mandated breaks from the club to return to formalised pre-season training every year. How players are dreading the hard slog of endurance running, fitness testing and a smattering of skill which won’t kick into gear until shortly after the last strains of Auld Lang Syne are played. Up in sunny Central Queensland, without the glare of the local rag which is more interested in indoor netball, roller derby and inline hockey, we are doing the same thing.

It seems as though the ritual of beginning a pre-season is getting earlier and earlier. I still recall beginning pre-season training in 2001 in late January, with an endurance run and mainly skill work. It only realistically started before Christmas around 2008 after a disasterous 2007 campaign, with more focus on the “boring” aspects of football, building fitness around the core, gradually increasing the endurance levels and hopefully ensuring that a point will be proven by round 1. Last year, after the dual premiership, training for the 2011 season didn’t begin until early 2011, in part due to flooding (plans to “floodproof” the highway are in Canberra awaiting a rubber stamp, which won’t be done for about another 3 government terms, but I digress). Even then the first session that I was able to attend, thanks to a work boss who released me from work as there was nothing to do, had 3 people for a road run. From memory I took about 15 minutes more to complete the course than the other pair.

So just what has pre-season training entailled for us? The program over the last month or so has involved running sessions (of which I am going to undertake myself shortly after completing this entry… 4:30 AM on Christmas Eve!), pool and circuit training and “Strongman” sessions at the sponsors gym. Work commitments have virtually prevented me from attending the running on Monday Nights, although sorting parcels and mail over the last month has more than made up for the exhaustion this may provide. I have attended 3 pool sessions which all varied. The first involved plenty of lap swimming (25m pool at a local high school), with a little skipping and boxing thrown in. The second was mainly circuit work with a short recovery dip, and the third which happened last Wednesday was simply playing games in the pool .

The strongman classes (of which I have made twice) was amongst the most physically punishing things I have ever attempted, let alone managed to complete in my life. Some of the activities in the circuit supervised by a qualified personal trainer have included squats whilst lifting kegs above the head, truck tyre flipping, pushing/pulling weights attached to a powersled (like what some clubs used before they developed parachutes attached to the players), and some free weights used as millitary press or bicep curl. Is it over the top for a small football club in a non-footballing state to be doing this sort of thing? Perhaps it may be although I’m not opposed to doing gym sessions, particularly if they’re prepared to back us.

The group will reconvene for the next portion of training on January 9, in which the intensity levels I’m sure will increase. Not entirely sure what the practice match schedule will be at this stage leading up to the start of the season on April 14. However I have heard that perhaps a hybrid game against a local “World Game” club is a possibility, plus an inter club match and possibly a trip to a pre-season carnival, depending on if the Wide Bay league (or Bundaberg clubs) organise anything or whether we can get enough numbers to head north to Airlie Beach for a return trip some 3 years from our initial foray.

Before I go some changes from around the state which you may or may not be aware of. Firstly in Mackay it is hoped that the Bakers Creek club can get their sides back on the paddock after having to forfeit the 2nd half of 2011 due to a lack of playing numbers. They have gotten more media attention (2 articles) than almost the remainder of the league have at this stage. Meantime the Andergrove Kangaroos have changed their name to the Greater Northern Beaches Magpies after a tie in with a local Sports Club was confirmed on the proviso of a name change. Further north in Townsville the league next year will be 5 teams in both senior and reserve grades after the Townsville City Lions successfully applied to the league to return to the seniors after a 3 year absence (2009 in recess, 2010 and 2011 just as a reserve grade side). And finally in Toowoomba the Darling Downs league looks as though they will have a reserve grade for the first time in a number of years, with clubs that don’t have the numbers for “the magoos” possibly looking to join forces and a 10th club based in Pittworth using this to help get them into senior ranks for 2012.
As Bill Lawry would say “It’s All Happening Here” in regional Queensland footy. Stay safe on the roads during this period, we want to all be back reading my randomness in 2012.

About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.


  1. CARNA Greater Northern Beaches Magpies!!!! Oh for the days of a Pie Night in early March to kick things off.

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