We’re fairly close to full strength for the match against South Fremantle, but will be without Shane Nelson (hand injury) and Laine Rasmussen, who is likely to play reserves after an ankle reconstruction over summer.
The fact we’re coming off a losing grand final doesn’t have us putting any higher expectations on ourselves than we did at this time last year after a season in which we didn’t make the finals. We have the same expectations regardless of ladder position.
We do not focus a lot on results of the previous season, it’s more about how we can build on what we did well and tweak what we did poorly.
Those tweaks can be around such aspects as bettering personnel in weak areas, structural matters or training methods. I have planned a lot for this season without worrying too much when veteran Matt Guadagnin returns from a knee reconstruction.
He keeps assuring me that he will be back, so I will treat it as a bonus for 2016 if he does return.
He’s contributing in a coaching capacity, at which he’s proven to be very good.
As I’ve said many times, Marcus Adams will be tough to replace. When you lose one of your best players, and a physically imposing one at that, it has repercussions on structure.
But we’re in the business of developing mature-age players for AFL and if they get a shot, then we’ve done our job. We’ve got footballers like Tyler Keitel, Max Alexander, Joe Morrow, Sam Rotham, Jordan Mills and Mark Hamilton who give us options in key defensive roles.
While none of them are Marcus Adams, we don’t expect them to be.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game against South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval, it’s a little hard to judge where they’re at after mixed results in pre-season games.
They’ve got a very talented top end of players, which they’ve complemented with youngsters coming off AFL lists this season so we’re expecting them to pose a challenge.
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