Ahead of the start of pre-season training on Monday, afc.com.au catches up with coach Brenton Sanderson.
In this three-part interview, Sando talks about the changes to the football department, identifies the players he expects to push for regular selection next season and reveals the Club’s major focus for the 2013 pre-season.
Q. You’re about to enter your second pre-season as senior coach. How much better prepared are you?
A. “I’m way better prepared. I was appointed in preliminary final week last year and a lot of my responsibility then was about getting the team around us right, developing relationships and ensuring we had the right style of game plan.
“At this time last year, we were already deep into the pre-season program, but the players have had a really big 12 months. They deserve some time off to rest and relax and then get ready for another big summer. We’ve had 20-30 players here using the gym and working out these past two weeks. They are really keen to get a head start on the pre-season, which is good to see.
“We had 14 weeks to prepare for the start of last season (NAB Cup). This year, we’ve got 10 weeks. So, it’ll be more condensed, but there will probably be less teaching to do than there was last year. The energy and excitement is still very much there, but we probably feel we have the building blocks in place. Now, it’s going to be the extension of that … it’ll go from (game plan) 101 to 201 or 301.”
Q. There have only been a few changes to football department personnel. Can you talk us through those?
A. “It’s great there hasn’t been too much change. We’ve kept our coaching group of ‘Bicks’, ‘Dasher’, ‘Campo’ and ‘Bails’ together and in the same roles, so there’s a lot of familiarity there. There haven’t been major changes to our list either. Obviously, we lose Kurt Tippett. Michael Doughty is a big loss, Brad Symes was a great clubman and Chris Knights has gone to Richmond. A few rookies have also moved on, but the squad will be very similar to last year, so you’d expect us to improve.
“We lost (physical performance manager) Stephen Schwerdt to the Gold Coast and elevated (strength and conditioning coach) Nick Poulos into that role. We’re going to get Duncan Kellaway (Physiotherapist - Rehabilitation) in from Geelong. He’s a qualified physio and will be focused on return to play/rehabilitation, so essentially he’ll replace (rehabilitation physio Scott Wilson). He won’t be in the coaching side of things, but as a former player his knowledge will be really beneficial to the group.
“Andrew Young has come to the Club from Fulham in the English Premier League. He’ll have a role involving conditioning, GPS analysis, prescription training and will write a lot of programs for our boys. In effect, Andrew has replaced Nick Poulos’ position.
“We’re not trying to replicate exactly the fitness structure we did last year. We’ve shuffled things around a bit and are setting up our own system, which we think will work for us.
“Heath Younie (Development Coach/Welfare Assistant) will also come in as another development coach. Heath played footy for North Adelaide, is a qualified teacher and has also done his Level Three Coaching Certificate. He’ll do a bit of work with Paddy Steinfort. Player Development will be his primary role, but he’ll be involved in a little of the welfare side of things too.”
Q. Which players do you see stepping up to replace Tippett and Doughty?
A. “The players fighting for those small defender spots last year were Richard Tambling, Matt Jaensch and Luke Brown. Brodie Smith also played some good footy in defence last season. Those boys in particular will have to be the ones that step up and replace ‘Dogga’.
“In the forward line, we’re fortunate we have Shaun McKernan and Josh Jenkins, who can both play a similar role to Kurt Tippett. We’ve got ready-made players there. We’re still trying to determine what our best structure is forward of the ball. We had great success last year with Walker, Porplyzia, Petrenko, Callinan and Tippett, but that could be different this year.
"Porplyzia could spend more time in the middle, as could Petrenko. We don’t necessarily have to replace Kurt Tippett with Kurt Tippett. Jenkins and McKernan certainly offer something a bit different.”
Q. What can you tell us about new rookies Jack Osborn and Tim Klaosen?
A. “Those boys will take time and won’t have their impact for a year or two, but Osborn is 205cm and very athletic for his size. Tim Klaosen is 196cm tall. He probably won’t play ruck, but he could be a key defender or forward.
"Think Ricky Henderson when he first started here and add another seven or eight centimetres to him. Ben Dowdell, who was already on the rookie list, is a ready-made ruckman with his size, and he developed really quickly last year.
Log onto afc.com.au on Friday to read part two of our interview with coach Brenton Sanderson