As we turn our focus to season 2019, the players met on Monday night as we outlined the upcoming preseason program. Wednesday marks the official beginning of preseason with fitness testing to be conducted on both Wednesday and Friday this week. Weekly training will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with an additional weights session on Tuesday or Thursday.
As our playing list continues to take shape, we are very excited with our new additions to the group. We welcome back Chris Schmidt who will no doubt be a huge asset for the group. We will look for Chris to contribute through the midfield and the backline. Jade Cleland joins the Club from Werribee and we expect Jade to have impact in the ruck and in the forward line. Another club favourite, Will Snelling, will also join preseason training. Whilst Will’s AFL dream remains a priority, he will re-join the West Adelaide family for 2019 should he be unsuccessful in the upcoming draft. We have also a host of talented up and coming players joining preseason. This includes Reed Stevens who is the younger brother of dual Club Champion, Kaine Stevens. 19-year-old Reed is an exciting prospect in his own right having already played multiple seasons for Canberra Demons in the NEAFL. Jayden Klemke (brother of Ben Klemke) will also join the club. Jayden is a dual league medallist in the Riverina League and will look to further strengthen our midfield stocks. Others joining preseason are Tom Gallaway from North Albury, James and Scott Bentley from Nuriootpa, and Tom Morrish from Ouyen. Our coaching group is still being finalised however I can confirm that Development Coach, Damian Minervini, will take on a League assistant role in 2019.
Whilst modified programs will be required for some players, the majority of the playing group will begin pre-season injury free. Zac Bates (shoulder surgery) and Brett Turner (hip surgery) will both have significant delays to their preseason however we expect both to be available for round 1.
Our focus in preseason will vary slightly from 2018. Having improved our basic training standards over the course of this season, we can now spend more time focusing on game structures and ball movement. There will be some modifications to our game plan however we feel the foundation of successful football was achieved this year. Both our playing and coaching group enter preseason having worked together for 12 months. We feel very confident we will see significant improvement as reward for our past and continued efforts.