It often seems like a “damned if you do, damned if you do not” scenario for AFL teams, as they wrap up pre-season play and training in the final week leading up to the first bounce of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
On the one hand, clubs that train and scrimmage with too much intensity risk losing the very players upon which they will depend when it comes time in September to play finals footy.
On the other hand, clubs that train too casually risk having their season derailed in the early going.
The club that seems to be taking the lackadaisical approach, in the view of former Brisbane Lion great Jonathan Brown, is the Collingwood Magpies.
With the perspective of three years behind him since he last teed it up for the Lions, Brown took a little tour of the conveniently located Victorian teams to offer his perspective on how the ongoing preparations for the new season are proceeding.
He expressed admiration for the effort the 2017 premier Richmond Tigers are taking training seriously, but serious concern for how the Pies are approaching the season.
“Collingwood had a lethargy about them against GWS, so I go down to training to have a look,” Brown told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.“I get my benchmark — I look at Richmond … they train with intensity, they train with an urgency of a premiership team.I go down the road and watch Collingwood — there’s a lethargy. There’s a lack of urgency, a lack of intensity … blokes dawdling between drills.”
Richmond does have the motivation factor. They need to make it as far as the finals if they are to be considered legitimate as premiers, unlike their predecessors, the Western Bulldogs, who fell flat the year following their surprise rise to the top of the mountain.
The Magpies, on the other hand, have not had a winning season since 2013.