Firstly I would like to say a big hello to all Bulldogs members and supporters, I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to coach a great football club and I look forward to meeting you all during the football season. A big thank you to the Board, Peter Christie, CEO Stuart Kemp and his staff, Football Manager David Depane, the players, my support staff and all the volunteers who have made my family and I feel not only welcome but fully supported from the moment I was appointed.
The players, support staff and coaches have been hard at work since pre-season training kicked off on the 12th November 2014. The six week training block leading into Christmas is always a challenge with the football games being so far away, however the attitude and endeavour shown by everyone has been first class. The coaches have looked to challenge the players from early on with much of training made up of small sided games and drills that simulate the way in which we will look to play as a team in 2015.
The coaching staff will consist of Arthur Maskos and Brett Duffield assisting at senior level in 2015, reserves coach Tony Walters will continue with the support of Michelle Cowan and Paul Litherland, and Brett King has come on board to look after our talls program. Mike Vegar has been fantastic support to me and he will continue to lead the strength and conditioning team to give the players every opportunity to be the best players they can be.
We have seen the majority of the squad from 2014 return with a burning ambition to make the most of their football in 2015. We have been able to strengthen our list with the addition of former Bulldogs in Cory Dell’Olio (Essendon), Adam Carter (West Coast), Kyle Hams and Sam Lowrie. Our overall recruiting philosophy is to develop and promote our own players from within, target any former South Fremantle players coming out of the AFL and then look outside the club if there is any high quality talent who can come and help us in areas we think need to improve immediately. We were delighted to be able to secure Blayne Wilson (West Coast) who has a strong family connection to the club when he became available to strengthen our defence.
After a short break over the festive season, the squad reassembled on Monday January 5 to continue our preparation for season 2015, in a really pleasing sign the players returned fit, as always have been in good spirits and have jumped straight back into their work. Our aim for the remainder of the pre-season is to build on the hard work done pre-Christmas, and will continue to challenge the players strongly over the next 6-8 weeks as we progress through more contact and match simulation in training.
During the practice matches we will look to give players who have excelled consistently over the pre-season some opportunities at senior level and manage some of our ‘mature players’ to ensure our squad are fit and available for selection in Round 1 on March 20, 2015.
I look forward to seeing you all on Friday March 20 when we kick season 2015 off against West Perth at Fremantle Oval.