Chas­ing a strong start

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Footy Countdown - BY DEAN LAW­SON

How a foot­ball team per­forms over­all can of­ten come down to how the play­ing group starts its sea­son. Just ask Dim­boola in Wim­mera Foot­ball League.

His­tory tells us the Roos played in a rip­per sea­son opener against Stawell last year, where they had more shots at goal than their op­po­nents and could have eas­ily won, but ul­ti­mately fell short of vic­tory.

Later that year in the sea­son wash-up, Stawell played off in a pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal while Dim­boola had al­ready long hung up the boots af­ter fin­ish­ing on the bot­tom of the lad­der.

It was a fact far from lost on new Dim­boola coach Al Mckin­non, who, in en­cour­ag­ing the Dim­boola faith­ful to get be­hind the club, pin-pointed early suc­cess as crit­i­cal in prim­ing his team for a com­pet­i­tive year.

“It can be like the toss of a coin and how it lands, so it is crit­i­cal to in­flu­ence that as much as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“To have any sort of tilt at the fi­nals you can’t af­ford to be in a po­si­tion try­ing to make up ground af­ter early losses.

“I en­cour­age ev­ery­one to get be­hind the club. It’s go­ing to be a good year in Wim­mera league and things are go­ing to be re­ally tight, es­pe­cially in the mid­dle part of the lad­der.

“Hope­fully we get off to a good start so we can build morale, con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum.”

Mckin­non is rel­ish­ing the coach­ing chal­lenge.

“It’s go­ing re­ally well. We have a big chal­lenge con­sid­er­ing where we fin­ished last year. But what bet­ter way to test your­self than from bot­tom up,” he said.

“The play­ing list is look­ing as good as it has for a while as far as num­bers go.”

Mckin­non is keen to es­tab­lish a re­silient group that can adapt to the many dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances that emerge dur­ing a year.

“The aim is to maybe scrape into the fi­nals. To do that we need struc­tures in place to arm the play­ers with the right tools to adapt to con­di­tions or op­po­nents,” he said.

“Things don’t al­ways go to plan but if have enough tools in the tool box you can adapt.”

Skill devel­op­ment

Years as a work­horse in the pivot for the Roos has gal­vanised Mckin­non’s be­lief that re­fin­ing skills as much as fitness is crit­i­cal in over­all team per­for­mance.

“Work­ing on skill devel­op­ment and ball move­ment is pretty much a pri­or­ity,” he said.

“There is a big em­pha­sis in do­ing all fitness work with balls.

“I go by the say­ing that you have to get twice as fit as you want to be if you can’t kick the ball prop­erly. That’s be­cause you end up do­ing twice as much run­ning to go and get it again.”

Es­tab­lish­ing a plan to ex­plore greater op­por­tu­ni­ties to ‘break the lines’ by us­ing ro­ta­tions through the mid­dle of the ground is also high on Mckin­non’s agenda.

Fit­ting in neatly with the strat­egy is the re­turn of ruck­rover Nigel Sib­son and Oliver and El­liot Braith­waite.

Mckin­non said his on-field as­sis­tant coach Tom Magee, who played lit­tle more than a game last year be­fore suf­fer­ing a sea­son-end­ing in­jury, would be like a re­cruit and would also be in­volved in mid-field plan­ning.

“We want to get a fresh look through the mid­dle. We prob­a­bly haven’t had the ro­ta­tion we’ve needed in the past cou­ple of years,” he said.

“The Braith­waites will pro­vide run­ning ca­pac­ity and are skil­ful blokes who can win their own ball.

“Kierin Fraser is back train­ing with us and we’d like to de­velop Darcy Bar­ber to help us hit the ground run­ning. Jack Woods from Hor­sham Saints is also train­ing well and we have Dan Gard­ner com­ing across from Ru­pa­nyup.

“We’re also talking to a cou­ple more play­ers.”

Dim­boola’s peak-and-trough story of suc­cess has long been an is­sue and the Roos are work­ing to de­velop con­sis­tency with a fo­cus on fos­ter­ing a ju­nior acad­emy.

The club is tap­ping into the ser­vices of for­mer Minyip-mur­toa coach Jaye Macum­ber who has taken on a part­time ju­nior-devel­op­ment con­sul­tant role.

Mckin­non said as an on-field leader he would also rely on a strong sys­tem on the side­lines and would have non-play­ing as­sis­tant Michael Hen­der­son mar­shalling play­ers from the bench.

The Roos are train­ing on Tues­day and Thurs­day nights at 6.15pm at the Dim­boola re­serve with some play­ers in­volved in Satur­day morn­ing ses­sions.

The club has prac­tice matches planned against Jeparit-rain­bow, Kaniva-leeor and Kal­kee.

ON THE RISE: Se­nior coach Al Mckin­non, pic­tured with the 2013 premier­ship cup, is look­ing to build morale, con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum at the club this year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.