No rest for Roos
Tuesday, 10th February, 2015
By Darrin Manuel
South are reigning premiers and arguably the yardstick of the local AFL competition, yet for coach Craig Thomas, the only way is up.
Rival teams will be disappointed to hear that the Roos appear to have no plans to rest on their laurels as they head into the 2015 season.
Thomas oversaw a well-attended pre-season training session on Thursday, and his charges appeared to be happy and enthusiastic about the year ahead, despite a gruelling pre-season campaign.
“We started on December 1, and I’ve been really happy with the way the boys have approached the pre-season,” said Thomas.
“I told them before Christmas it would be tougher than last season and that we needed to improve on a few things, especially fitness-wise.
“It’s been a long preseason so far, we’re now into February and to the boys credit we’ve had good numbers at most sessions, their fitness level has picked up probably 50 per cent on where they were, and we’re looking good leading into the Lightning Cup.”
A premiership hangover doesn’t appear to be on the cards at the Alma Oval, with Thomas saying he’d look to build on last season’s watershed premiership.
“I’m a big believer that you can always improve; we’re always learning, and we still need to improve in a lot of areas,” he said.
“At times our accountability is not there, we finesse with the ball a bit, over-use it too much, and sometimes our work inside forward 50 isn’t up to scratch.
“But we’re always improving and there are always areas we’re looking at because you know the other three clubs are always going to get better, and they’ll be after us now.”
South will look to maintain their style of “fast free flowing football” with an emphasis on retaining possession, and they have some new personnel to help achieve their goals.
Wade Gepp (Central), Nick Agius (West) and Sheldon Hall (West) have all come aboard, while Ty Corey has departed for Adelaide.
Thomas said Corey’s class would be missed, but would hopefully be offset by the new additions.
“Pick up three and lose one? You’d take that any day... and the three new guys have been to all the trainings, they’ve been awesome.
“Wade Gepp has lost a ton of weight, he’s fitted right into the group and his skill level and fitness is picking up week by week.
“Nick Agius is a running machine, he brings a lot of running power to us. We’re starting to teach him other aspects of the game, where to be running, and not just dead running.
“And Sheldon is a really good utility player, he’s been training really hard in the off season and he’ll play a role in our squad as well.
Thomas said the club would now turn its attention to the preseason competition and fine tune the team for the season proper.
“We’re really looking forward to having a game. Just getting out there in the Lightning Cup and kicking off the season and seeing how the boys all go.”