Published on March 25, 2019 12:00 pm

Alex Woodward

VFL SEASON PREVIEW: Collingwood

Collingwood VFL senior coach Jared Rivers gives his thoughts on the club’s upcoming Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL season.

2018 FINISH: 7th (12-7 record)

2018 BEST AND FAIREST: 1. Marty Hore / 2. Jarryd Blair / 3. Lachlan Tardrew

2018 TEAM OF THE YEAR SELECTIONS: Marty Hore

2018 AFL DRAFTEES: Marty Hore (Melbourne), Tom Jok (Essendon – rookie)

OTHER CURRENT AFL DRAFTEES FROM CLUB:

  • Selected in 2015: Rupert Wills (Collingwood) 6 games

2019 SEASON START: vs Coburg @ Piranha Park, Saturday April 6 (CLICK HERE for full fixture)

 

KEY RECRUITS

Adam Oxley (27yo in 2019, from Collingwood AFL): “I think Adam can really help us with our ball movement. We’ll probably look to play him on a wing and off half back at times as well. He’s a really good decision-maker with ball in hand and is really going to provide some leadership, as we’re probably a bit younger at VFL level than previous years. He also knows how the club plays (after 34 AFL games from 2013-18).”

Campbell Hustwaite (19yo in 2019, from Dandenong Stingrays): “Campbell was Dandenong’s U18 Boys premiership captain last year. He’s a midfielder who missed out at the AFL Draft but he’s really keen to prove a few people wrong. He gets his hands on the ball quite a lot and is a really good decision-maker with ball in hand as well. He’ll probably be our 23rd player for the first few weeks.”

Alex Spencer (24yo in 2019, from Port Melbourne): “Alex is probably going to be a forward for us after playing a little bit as a defender at Port Melbourne. He has really good hands as a lead-up forward and is a really good kick at goal.”

CLICK HERE to see key ins and outs at each VFL club for 2019.

 

POTENTIAL BIG IMPROVERS

Callan Wellings (21yo in 2019, 22 VFL games): “Cal was our 23rd player at the start of last year and ended up playing almost every game. He’s determined to make an AFL list and I believe he has a lot of attributes that he needs to do so. We had Marty Hore and Tom Jok drafted last year and I think that gives boys like Cal some hope. He runs super hard defensively and you don’t see too many young midfielders do that.”

Elliot Le Grice (24yo in 2019, 76 VFL games): “Elliot came back to the club this pre-season in career-best nick and he ran a really good 2km time trial for a big key defender. He probably didn’t have the pre-season he wanted to last year but he’s super fit and he’s going to be really important for us down back with the likes of Marty Hore leaving. I’m expecting big things from him this year.”

Andrew Gallucci (25yo in 2019, 56 VFL games): “Andrew has had an interrupted pre-season with a shoulder injury, but he’s a dangerous small forward and can play on a wing at times. He’s a really good decision-maker with ball in hand and effective in applying pressure on the opposition. We’re really keen for that forward-half pressure in the way we play.”

Sean Hetherington (25yo in 2019, 53 VFL games): “Sean had a super season for us last year playing on a wing and a little bit down back. He really surprised me; I didn’t know a lot about him from his time at Williamstown (from 2013-16). I reckon he has some AFL attributes, especially with his decision-making and work rate. He reads the game really well and sets us up in our offence.”

 

ELIGIBLE 23rd PLAYER TO WATCH

Sam Ralph (21yo in 2019, two VFL games): “Sam has been on our list for a few years now and he’s one to watch out for. He’s had a super pre-season where he had the chance to train with our AFL players and he didn’t look out of place. He has massive upside in his game. He’s an elite runner and can play forward, back or on a wing.”

 

LEADERSHIP MATERIAL

Co-captains:

  • Jack Hellier (31yo in 2019, 110 VFL games)
  • Alex Woodward (26yo in 2019, 42 VFL games)

“Jack is such a big driver of our program and our alignment with the AFL team. I thought his second half of 2018 was super, playing in the midfield against the opposition’s best midfielder – he definitely matched it with the majority of those guys. He’s refreshed and keen to go around again.

“Alex is a quality inside midfielder who leads through his actions. He sets high standards across our group, which has been shown through his strength in character on and off the field.”

 

Leadership group members:

  • Michael Chippendale (27yo in 2019, 23 VFL games)
  • Elliot Le Grice (see above)
  • Adam Oxley (see above)
  • Matthew Smith (28yo in 2019, 56 VFL games)
  • Callan Wellings (see above)

 

TEAM STRENGTHS

“It hurts me as a coach that we were one win away from finishing in the top four last year and were still unable to win a final in the time I’ve been here (two elimination-final losses in 2017-18). Our goal is to have a strong season again and hopefully finish in the top four.

“I think our core group of eight to 10 players that we’ve kept from last year should take another step up this year and improve the way we play.”

 

ASSISTANT COACHING PANEL

Back line coach: Matthew Boyd (retained from 2018)

Midfield line coach: Brad Gotch (retained from 2018)

Forward line coach: Tarkyn Lockyer (retained from 2018)

 

HEADLINE YOU WANT TO SEE

“It’d be nice to see ‘Collingwood’s AFL and VFL teams play off in grand finals’ – we can all dream!”

 

CLICK HERE for 2019 season previews on other Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL clubs.

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