Midfield recruit Dean Gore is pushing forward in Adelaide’s match simulation drills as he tries to add extra dimensions to his strong inside game.
Originally from Hahndorf, the promising 19-year-old was traded to the Crows in October after one season at Geelong, where he finished third in the Cats’ VFL best and fairest despite being limited to 11 games.
At 183cm and 86kg, Gore is a contested ball winner with a good burst out of stoppage and neat foot skills. He also has a good defensive game, averaging six tackles in the VFL last season.
New Crows Coach Don Pyke is demanding flexibility from his squad, with players to spend more time on the ground as a result of the reduced number of interchanges in 2016.
Gore said he was determined to show he could be more than a midfield accumulator.
“I’ve trained predominantly through the midfield, but I’ve got to try and be more flexible,” Gore said.
“I’m throwing myself into forward positions as well now, and outside roles on the wing. I’m trying to mix it up to create a bit more flexibility in my game.
“I’m still continuing to work on my contests … trying to beat my opponent around the stoppages. Also my outside run and ability to spread quickly from the contest has been a big focus.”
Gore hasn’t missed a session in his first full AFL pre-season.
Arriving at a new club under a new Senior Coach, there has been plenty to learn.
“It’s been a very solid pre-season. In your second year, everything gets ramped up a little bit,” he said.
“Meeting all the players and training with them now for the last couple of months has been really good. We’ve been getting to know Pykey’s game plan and implementing all those things from the meetings and putting them into action out on the field.
“We’ve been getting into a lot of game simulation at training … and I’m absolutely loving it.”
Gore has joined the queue of young Crows aiming to break into the midfield.
The former South Australian Under-18 representative said he was benefiting from training alongside the Club’s seasoned onballers, and also being coached by midfield boss Scott Camporeale.
“It’s brilliant learning off the experienced players like Sloaney, Thommo and Dougy,” he said.
“It’s what great footy clubs have, good competition for spots. And Campo has been really good. He can be serious at times when he has to be, and then relaxed at other times.
“He’s been very helpful with the stoppage stuff and also things away from footy as well.”
Gore became a Crow as part of the deal that saw Patrick Dangerfield land at Geelong.
The trade also netted Adelaide a first-round pick, which the Club used to secure exciting local Wayne Milera, and a second-round selection which formed part of the trade for Carlton goal sneak Troy Menzel.
Gore said he wasn’t fazed by the circumstances in which he arrived at West Lakes.
“I don’t feel any pressure with that,” he said.
“I’ve just been really focusing on training hard and earning the respect of all the players at the footy club. It’s only my second year. We’re all here to play AFL footy, so I’m going to do whatever I can to set myself up to play games of AFL.
“I wasn’t really expecting it (a trade) at the end of last season, but to get back (to Adelaide) with family and friends has been a massive bonus.”
Gore lined up for the Cats in their NAB Challenge opener against Gold Coast last year.
He’s hoping for a similar opportunity with the Crows when the pre-season competition kicks off next week. Get your ticketsto Adelaide’s NAB Challenge clash with West Coast at Unley Oval
“I’d just love to get a crack at the (NAB Challenge) games,” he said.
“We’ve got a pretty fit list at the moment. I think there are 38-40 boys training on the track fully. I’ll just try and train as hard as I can for the next couple of weeks and hopefully get a crack there and do the best I can.”
Gore’s transition to the Crows has been aided by captain Taylor Walker, who has opened up his doors the mild-mannered teenager.
“Living with Tex has been brilliant. He is pretty easy to get on with,” Gore said.
“He gets along with all the boys really well. At home, he’s brilliant. He and Ellie have been great to me and I can’t thank them any more.
“He’s not too bad at home. He’s just got to stop singing, he’s pretty average at that!”