Colts win­ning with Ruck

DEMONS ABOVE EXPECTATIONS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

AF­TER turn­ing over more than half their play­ing list from 2015, many would not have ex­pected Perth to be sit­ting atop of the Colts lad­der af­ter nine rounds, let alone un­de­feated.

An­drew Ruck is in his first sea­son as colts coach and while he was pleased by his side’s start to the sea­son, the de­vel­op­ment of the play­ing group over the past seven months has been more of a high­light.

“It’s been a good start and there have been a lot of dif­fer­ent chal­lenges but it’s been fun and the group are en­joy­ing the chal­lenges they face each week,” Ruck said.

“It sounds prob­a­bly pretty clichéd but we don’t pay too much at­ten­tion to the score­board; it’s more about the de­vel­op­ment of the play­ers and this is some­thing that we have been keen to re­in­force from the start.

“We want to be able to pro­mote as many play­ers as we can from our group to the se­nior team in the fol­low­ing cou­ple of years and we don’t re­ally want them go­ing up there with too many de­fi­cien­cies.”

Try­ing to cor­rect the de­fi­cien­cies in dif­fer­ent play­ers’ games, Ruck and his coach­ing group have im­ple­mented ‘craft ses­sions’ into train­ing af­ter se­nior coach Earl Spald­ing in­tro­duced them at se­nior train­ing.

“In re­gards to the craft ses­sions, as soon as the play­ers get here, which is around 55.30pm, we get to work on their de­fi­cien­cies,” he said.

“Ev­ery player has de­fi­cien­cies and we try to iden­tify these par­tic­u­lar de­fi­cien­cies in our play­ers and spend 15-20 min­utes work­ing with them each night.

“Some nights we can have any­where from six to seven groups, work­ing on all dif­fer­ent as­pects of the game, from con­tested mark­ing to skill ex­e­cu­tion and de­ci­sion mak­ing.

“We think this has had a re­ally pos­i­tive ef­fect on the play­ing group and by set­ting some min­i­mum stan­dards when it comes to skill level and train­ing habits, which the play­ers have re­ally bought into, is prob­a­bly the dif­fer­ence be­tween us win­ning games and not win­ning games.”

One thing the team will have to ad­just to over the com­ing months is the loss of play­ers to the State 18s and to the Pri­vate Schools As­so­ci­a­tion.

Zac Fisher, Quin­ton Narkle, John Le­vien, Gor­don Nar­rier, An­ton Scot­ney and Kris­tian Morisey have all been se­lected in the WA squad for this year’s na­tional un­der18 cham­pi­onships, which will be­gin next month.

“When you take 10 or 11 guys out of your team, most sides re­ally find it dif­fi­cult and I have found over the last three or four weeks that our depth is quite strong,” Ruck said.

“When these play­ers come in we are not ex­pect­ing the world or ask­ing them to get 20 touches; we are just ask­ing them to beat their man and try and give us a lit­tle bit on the re­bound and do all the lit­tle things that make the good sides good. And so far, this has been the case.”

The Perth colts group of 2016 is very di­verse and dy­namic, with play­ers com­ing from all over the Demons catch­ment zones.

“There’s prob­a­bly around 10-12 play­ers that are a part of this squad at the mo­ment work­ing with Jar­rod Chip­per­field and Matthew Stokes,” Ruck said.

“We are us­ing a pro­gram called hudl, where we are able to up­load vi­sion with feed­back from the pre­vi­ous week’s game. This al­lows the play­ers to sit down and re­view their vi­sion on Mon­day.

“It saves them from trav­el­ling down three nights a week and I know it’s only one night but at the end of the year, one night ev­ery week makes a big dif­fer­ence.”

With the team not hav­ing lost a game so far this sea­son, expectations around Ruck’s side are start­ing to rise.

“Ex­ter­nally, expectations and pres­sures are prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit higher but in­ter­nally when we do our re­views, I keep em­pha­sis­ing to the play­ers that it’s about earn­ing the re­spect of their team­mates...”

“I think that at the end of the day if you can earn the re­spect of your team­mates and aim to train as well as you pos­si­bly can, then as they progress through the grades this will hold them and the Perth Foot­ball Club in good stead.” An­drew Owen

2016 is An­drew Ruck’s first sea­son coach­ing the Colts.

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