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McQualter’s midfield overview

Line update: Midfield Assistant Coach, Andrew McQualter provides us with an update on how the midfield is tracking this pre-season.

Richmond assistant coach Andrew McQualter provides a snapshot of the Tigers’ midfield preparations, planning, personnel, and potential for the 2018 season. 

Pre-season focus for ‘mids’

“I think the main thing at this time of year is just really the fundamentals. We’ve done a lot of contested stuff from an individual level and also a team level – a lot of breakdown drills around contested-ball situation. So that’s been our biggest focus so far.”

Familiarity breeds success

“I think continuity within any group is one of your strongest assets, and they’ve played together now for a few years a lot of them. So there is a good core group there that will only get better the more they play together.” 

Fierce competition

“We’ve got 24 players in our midfield group at the moment, so it’s huge. For an AFL game day, you can only fit into six or eight spots, so it’s difficult, but it’s also a great challenge because it means everyone has to keep performing.”

Promising midfield additions

“We drafted three guys who have come into our midfield group – Paddy Naish, Jack Higgins and Liam Baker . . . all 18 or 19 years old. So it’s different to last year, where we got some guys that were a bit older. But they’ve come in and had an impact so far . . . They’re going well.”

Higgins shines

“Like with all first-years, we’ve been able to monitor his training a little bit to ensure that he’s at the right level to be able to keep up and not get injured. He’s shown some great signs already. Certainly got a lot of energy and he’s keen to learn. He’s mainly training with the mids, but I think as we more get into game-situation drills, he might spend some time up forward as well.”

More midfield time for Rioli, Short

“We’re looking for Daniel Rioli to spend a bit more time in the midfield. He hasn’t been able to train much at the moment, but he’s moved in there (with the midfield group). Jayden Short has moved into the midfield from half-back. He’s good, he’s starting to build up into full training after having shoulder surgery at the end of last year . . . What he’s done, he’s been able to work really hard at his running. So he’s got himself in fantastic condition, and he’s just building up his contested stuff at the moment.”

Conca’s return

“’Concs’ has come back into the midfield. He spent a fair bit of last year at half-back. The biggest challenge for Reece is just continuity at training, which he’s got at the moment. He’s training really well, he’s injury-free, and he’s going really well. So, hopefully, he’ll be pushing for a spot.”

Lloyd building on VFL gains

“We’ve moved him to the midfield this year. We saw at VFL level (in 2017) he was able to dominate games. It was a challenge getting into the AFL midfield towards the end of last year, but ‘Lloydy’ proved that he’s certainly above the level at VFL for the second half of the year.” 

High hopes for Corey Ellis

“Corey’s good, he’s travelling quite nicely at the moment. He’s had a few little setbacks in pre-season, but hopefully we can really elevate Corey’s game. We think he can become a really important player for us.”