Assistant Coach David Hale has provided an update on how his midfielders have been tracking during the pre-season.

Jai Newcombe

“Jai has had a good pre-season, we've had a focus on his speed and contest work over the summer. The intra-club and practice games have been good competition for him, working against our younger midfielders and trying to help them grow their game, but while also taking his game to another level. (To elevate Jai’s game in 2024) he could have a little more score impact, more connection with score involvement in the front half, and converting all his first position clearances. He’s a strong contested tackle player, so being really dynamic in that contested phase of the game will be important for him.”

Henry Hustwaite

“Hus has been able to cover the ground a lot better this pre-season with his speed and aerobic capacity which has helped him to get to more contests. He is a really strong, contested stoppage player, he has really clean hands and he makes good decisions in congestion. He is one we've been really impressed with over the summer, he is really diligent and just wants to get better, so hopefully he’s in for a good year. Hus and Cam Mackenzie have gone up against guys like Jai Newcombe, James Worpel and Connor Nash which has held him in good stead, they've all had moments during the pre-season or practice games where they've shown what they are capable of, so it’s going to be hard for match committee early in the year to try and fit them in.”

Ned Reeves

“Ned played against and beat some pretty good AFL rucks, so his goal is to continue to push up into the top echelon with those guys this year. He’s obviously very tall, he can jump and his skill set in there is unique, so giving our midfielders first use of the ball is important. We do want to add some facets to his game such as his aerial impact, his impact around the ground in terms of general possessions and follow up as a ruckman. They are things we have focused on this pre-season with him while combining with his ability to give our midfielders first use. He is bigger, stronger and understands the craft a lot more then he has in the past which will help him as well going forward.”

Cam Mackenzie

“Cam has made some good progress this summer, he can cover the ground a lot more than he did last year. With another pre-season under his belt now, we're excited by what he can do. He is a good decision-maker with ball in hand and he can really bring his assets to the table in terms of his work at the stoppage. Adding versatility by being able to play inside and a little bit outside, so whether that’s half-back or wing, that will be important for Cam. I think the progression he has made over the summer will set him up for a really good year."

James Worpel

“Worps has been good, I don’t think he has missed any sessions. He’s really improved his dynamic speed to get into the outer contest and his contested work is always pretty strong. He'll continue to work on his decision-making with ball in hand, when to kick and when to handball. He got back to a really good level last year, but he's really determined to keep elevating his game and raise what that level is. He is another one that is in a really good position heading into the season.”

Conor Nash

“Nashy took a real step up last year in terms of realising how big and physical he can be as an inside midfielder. It was a really good learning experience for him to have played with the likes of James Worpel and Will Day for a whole year. He showed what he brings to the table - he’s a little bit of a different player with his running capability on the outside being so strong as well, we really tried to hone in on the things that make him a good player. Similar to Worps, he got to a good level last year, but can he raise the bar again this year following another good summer?"

Josh Ward

“Wardy is really diligent in wanting to get better, he’s really committed to trying to get the best out of himself. He’s continuing to learn what the strengths of his game are - his running capacity, his decision-making, his kicking and skill execution are all really good. Now it's about how he can get himself in the position to get more of the ball and hurt the opposition. He has had a really good summer with understanding the space that he needs to work into as a midfielder, what the most dangerous positions are to get the ball, and how he can hurt the opposition with ball in hand.”

Finn Maginness

“Finn is a really good runner, he is a physical player and is super reliable. Some of the roles he executed last year as a tagger were first-rate. The coaches have confidence that whenever Finn plays that role, the job will get done. The next step is for him to continue to develop outside of the exclusive tagging role. We've tried adding a few strings to Finn’s bow, so whether that’s playing half-back, wing or playing inside, the more versatility that Finn can have will help him going forward."

Lloyd Meek

“Meeky has done the bulk of the work, similar to Ned Reeves he has been trying to make more aerial impact around the ground as a tall. He has been able to take some strong marks whether thats floating back into defence or taking them up forward. He is more than capable as ruckman, so for him the impact he can have on the scoreboard as a forward will be important. We've got confidence that whether we play two ruckman or the one if it came to the point where Ned is injured, Meeky can do that role. It's just about making sure he is prepared as best as he can to take that opportunity whichever role it's in."

Harry Morrison

“Harry has done majority of the pre-season, he is the ultimate professional. The defence profile that he brings as a player is sometimes not valued externally, but it is inside the walls. He is a really reliable and the group has a lot confidence in him to get the job done. He has worked hard over the summer on his speed and his high-end repeat running, to be able to cover up and down the wing which is important for us. He has put himself in a good position to have a strong year.”

Clay Tucker

“Clay has taken some really good steps forward this pre-season. Last year when he came in, he was probably a bit underdone in terms of aerobically being able to compete at the AFL level and his ruck craft hadn’t done a lot of work. Now, he has improved his fitness base immensely. He has had some moments where he has taken some contested marks or kicked goals, and the coaches have taken notice which is important for him. He is building his strength, so as a young key tall it takes some, time but we’re really wrapped with the development he’s shown this summer. Hopefully that leads into some more confidence in his capabilities this year.”

Will Day

“Will had a good block up until Christmas then obviously unfortunately injured his foot the first session back in the new year. He’s been helping out with the midfielders in terms of presenting line meetings, helping with coaching, staying involved as much as he can and obviously now he has just started walking out of the moon boot, so hopefully he can ramp things up pretty quickly from here. It is unfortunate what happened, but he came back in good nick and he’ll build up to coming back in at some point.”

Changkuoth Jiath 

“It’s been encouraging to see the things that CJ can do on the wing, obviously his running ability and aerobic profile is really strong. He did everything right to give himself the best opportunity to learn that wing craft. We’re really excited about what he can bring to the table, so hopefully his hamstring injury is just a minor setback for him and we can get him up and going again soon. He brings a unique skill set to the wing which we’re very excited about.”

Cooper Stephens

“Cooper has had a sore achilles, so he’s missed probably four weeks now which is unfortunate, but hopefully he’s back blending in with the group next week. He just needs a good run of momentum and a block of games just to get his confidence and performance at the level where he can contend with the guys who have been playing last year. Hopefully he gets a good run from here on in and can show us what he is capable of.”