He’s trans­form­ing

Schache aims to be a for­ward beast

Seymour Telegraph - - SPORT - By Gus McCub­bing Josh Schache caught up with jour­nal­ist Gus McCub­bing to talk all things foot­ball. The 21-year-old Sey­mour prod­uct, now play­ing for the Western Bull­dogs, is look­ing for­ward to tak­ing his game to new heights next sea­son.

At 199 cm, it’s hard to think Josh Schache would fit into any sort of medium-sized cloth­ing.

But be­lieve or not, the 21-yearold Sey­mour prod­uct played out the 2018 AFL sea­son in a medi­um­sized Western Bull­dogs jer­sey.

And sit­ting in the dug-out at Kings Park, ad­mir­ing the spring weather and freshly cut grass, Schache said he is do­ing ev­ery­thing he can while at home with his fam­ily on break to change that.

He wants to trans­form him­self into a for­ward beast, a front­line wreck­ing ma­chine to be feared by op­po­si­tion de­fend­ers — and now hav­ing just clicked above 100 kg, he’s in the same weight di­vi­sion as Ben Brown, Tom Lynch, Jesse Ho­gan and Tom Hawkins.

‘‘Hope­fully I’ll be big enough soon to crash packs — that’s the aim,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve spent three years in the sys­tem, so it’s get­ting to the stage where that’s ex­pected of me.’’

With a gru­elling train­ing sched­ule that in­volves hit­ting the lo­cal pool four times a week, along with gym and run­ning work (and the oc­ca­sional kick in the park with his mates) the only dif­fi­culty for Schache, now eat­ing six times a day, is find­ing enough food in the pantry.

‘‘I’m still only 21 and it takes a few years, but like ev­ery­one else I just want it now,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to speed up that process to play my role and in­flu­ence games as soon as pos­si­ble.’’

But while this arms race is hap­pen­ing, Schache is des­per­ate to main­tain his run­ning abil­ity.

With a 14.1 beep test recorded in his draft year, Schache’s ath­leti­cism helped him feast on 34 goals in seven games at TAC Cup level and get taken by Bris­bane with the num­ber two pick in 2015.

It’s a fine bal­ance be­tween size and mo­bil­ity he needs to man­age with the club’s con­di­tion­ing team, espe­cially since power for­wards tra­di­tion­ally take longer than the av­er­age player to fully de­velop.

In the mean­time, Schache said Bull­dogs’ for­ward line coach, 2006 West Coast premier­ship player Ash Hansen has done won­ders for his craft in terms of where he needs to be and when.

‘‘Some for­wards nearly run the most on the ground and these days Luke Bev­eridge is re­ally big on the fact it doesn’t mat­ter where you’re play­ing, if they need me down at full back, I’ve got to slide down and help out the de­fence,’’ he said.

‘‘So you’re pretty much play­ing all over the field.’’

Schache booted 17 goals in 13 games this sea­son, a clear im­prove­ment on his tally of nine goals from 10 games in 2017.

But his well-doc­u­mented move from the sun­shine state, which was only fi­nalised with 30 sec­onds re­main­ing in the 2017 trade pe­riod, has also im­proved his head space.

Con­tin­ued Page 23

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