With the season only a day away, John Lamont gave us his thoughts on the pre-season and what's to come from 2016.
1. Did you get everything you wanted from the pre season?
Fundamentally yes, the pre Christmas phase was a challenge down at Price Reserve Werribee South but it worked out pretty well… The group has come together and we are very much looking forward to Round 1. We probably needed another practice game. Our practice match phase was spread out and we probably didn’t have the continuity I would have liked looking back on it. The flip-side to that is we will go into the season fresh.
2. You have a new fitness team, did that change things up?
Daniel Jones has done an outstanding job and has been well supported by Matt, Andrew, Andrea and Josh. We changed the structure of our training and greater emphasis was placed on doing the gym training on off nights, so we were able to get more running and football work into the players.
3. Has the full alignment made much difference to you logistically, more time at NMFC etc?
I am spending more time at NMFC Arden street talking to the coaching group and the players. I went to Tasmania on the NMFC 1st year players camp, which was time well spent getting to know them.
4. Will we see any changes to the style of play from the teams?
Across the competition we will see quicker ball movement on the back of more aggressive and pro-active defence. Winning contested ball will still be king.
5. The competition for spots in the side will be pretty intense?
Without a doubt, it will start from Round 1. I expect there will be some disappointment, but the key thing for players to remember and to focus on is how you play, don’t waste energy on issues surrounding where you are playing. We need players to produce “trademark” performances week in, week out in both the Senior and Development teams. The general philosophy is picking a team around “high performance” with the ability, personnel and structure to win the game, but we must also weigh up the Development needs of the North Melbourne boys, as the club has committed to the partnership.
6. Expectations for the season?
My standard answer is to win more games that we lose, which will get us into the VFL finals and from there I will expect the group to win a final. Specifically I really expect the players to really come together well in the Werribee jumper, it is the jumper that unites us as such. The beginning of our redevelopment will mean some disruptions to our work-flows I would expect.
To finish off, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous job done by Stuart Balloch in the Football Operations role. Stu has been an enormous support to me in my role for the past two years, and I also witnessed the support he provided Messrs, Satterley and West when they were at the helm and I was in my role at North Melbourne. He will be greatly missed but the move to the Essendon Football League for his career is great timing so we wish him all the best.