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Colt Corner: Pre-season Update

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 6:05 PM
Colts Coach Beau Wardman returns as Colts Coach for the 2018 season and checks in with his regular colt corner feature update.
Beau, welcome back for 2018, did you get up to much over the break?
It hasn’t been a huge break unfortunately, we have been busy in planning the 2018 season. We have been really fortunate to appoint some great new staff to the program for 2018 with Chayce Creedy (backs) and Jason Hoskins (forwards) coming on as assistant coaches, with Scott Stanton taking up the midfield assistant role. Stuart Page will coach our Lions Pride squad, a program which will be increased in 2018. Frank Stockley (talls), Matt De Barro, Nicholas Visser and Jackson O’Malley (development) also join our coaching group in 2018 as we look to improve our player development skill focus. 
Back into training over the past couple of weeks, were you happy with the returning players and how they have come back after the off-season?
It is always a tough time for colts players coming back at this time of the year, with exams and school celebrations. It was noticeable some of the boys have done a bit of preparation with Tristan Hobley and Nick Deleonardis leading the 2km time trials. I think the skill level is certainly improved on the same time last year and that is testament to the work the players and coaches have done across 2017 both in our colts and development academy programs.   
For the new players to the system, how have they handled the transition to the first couple of weeks of a colts program?
I think for a few it has been a shock with the level of work required and the intensity expected, however most have adapted well. Training should always be a challenge to improve yourself and we want the players to be comfortable being uncomfortable. 
In terms of the first couple of weeks, can you give fans and members a bit of an insight to what the boys are currently going through at training?
We have had a real emphasis on skill fundamentals. Our pre-Christmas block won’t have too much, if any, game simulations or too much strategy, however a focus on basic skill execution. We have set it up to incorporate how we want to play, you can’t lose that, but it’s important to build the foundations. We also have a strong focus on our competitiveness and body work, the running and strength program is always a highlight of the pre-Christmas phase. We have also brought in our Lions - King of the Jungle games series, includes a bit of fun and team work.  
Are there any specific indicators you look at this early stage of pre-season or is it more about getting the players integrated and getting them part of the program before Christmas?
Our fitness improvements are important, and our S&C team working towards some targets for this and players need to meet certain targets for selection to enable them to compete at the level. We are also looking at our ball handling efficiencies and possession chains. Our trademarks and values will be built in over the next couple of weeks. 
Has there been any standouts on the track so far, whether that is experienced players going into their last year of colts football or new players to the program? 
Been really impressed with a couple of returning players, Jordan Faraone has jumped out with his work ethic, Luke Foley and the reigning Taylor Medallist, Liam Hickmott have performed well, challenging their own improvements. Jaxon Bilchuris has also been up in the running and looking towards playing higher up the ground. A couple of new talls, Sam Di Francesco and Zac Caulfield have Frank Stockley excited about their potentials alongside Mach Deng and Xavier Peacock. Whilst Jake McKinnon (Maddington) and Jacob Peletier (Esperance) have shown immediate capabilities.  
Great result for the club and your talent program in the last week with the five Subiaco players getting drafted. You had a big hand in the development of three of those boy’s. What were your feelings for Kyron, Ben and Brayden?
It was a terrific result, so proud of them. These young men have gone the extra lengths to improve themselves and it is always pleasing to see them have the rewards. Whilst their training and game day standards were there for all to see, what separated them or certainly assisted in their consistency was the work away from the spotlight. The hours debriefing performances, reviewing vision and extra skill sessions were opportunities they took up and earnt the rewards from. The result also emphasises the ability of our coaches to invest time and develop players whilst maintaining a high level of on-field success. 
Do you think this really justifies the emphasis that the club is now putting on the talent pathway, to get results like this on draft day?
To have draft success like this emphasises the pathway works. Not everyone gets there immediately and hopefully the boys who transition from colts to senior programs at the moment will have great seasons at senior level and continue to push for AFL opportunities over the coming years. Our own backyard has a great story in Matt Priddis. For any club to have sustained success you have to focus on your development as much as your performance and the different levels cater for that.     
Finally a lot has been made of the impending changes to colts football and the talent pathway, are there any changes for you on how you are preparing for 2018, or is it fairly similar in preparation to 2017?
Michael Farmer and myself are now employed by the WAFC under the new model, but we still remain firmly involved in the culture and development of players for the Subiaco Football Club. Whilst there are some ‘behind the scenes’ changes not much will change in the short term to how the program runs. Our emphasis in 2017 was on skill development, team cohesion and preparing players to compete when they were deemed capable, that will remain. There will be some other benefits in technology and resourcing which will be made available. Really looking forward on building in 2018.  
Thanks and good luck in the lead up to Christmas.