In Their Words – Alex Howard Round 1

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 1:17 PM by Alex Howard

IT has been a really long pre-season and I'm pretty thankful to get through it after I've had a couple of injuries in the past. The longer pre-season goes, you never know how it's going to pan out but once the games start it sort of changes everything and you can ease into it and focus on getting to Round 1.

Even though it was a longer pre-season, we pretty much attacked it the same way but it just went a bit longer. The extra running block we do dragged on and you know when you get to that last 2km time trial of pre-season that you're almost done, but that came a lot later this year. But once we got through it we could start focusing on some game style stuff a bit more and how we were actually going to play.

I'm feeling pretty confident with the squad we're coming into the season with. Instead of probably only having 22 players, we've gone to having 32 players who probably could play league any week and we've got a good balance. Getting George Hampson in and then Leigh Kohlmann who is an experienced body up forward, and Riley Garcia and Denzel More, it's a good balance we have now. All the young fellas have taken on board what we have been saying to help them out and to be honest, George Hampson has had a huge impact.

George is a pretty vocal person and he's always talking to the kids, and even us experienced players to help us out with anything he sees. A lot of our leaders are guys who show leadership through actions rather than being really vocal, but George is great out there. And even Jesse Glass-McCasker coming back, having him at full-back is a bit like having Amesy behind you because he loves shouting at you and telling you where to go. It's all coming together with having one at each end and then having the leadership guys in the middle so it works out nicely.

Speaking of the back-line, me and Tony always talk to each other and we know how each other is going to play. But then during that last pre-season game against Claremont, we had Nathan Ireland and Denzel More who just slotted in like they've played 50 league games. After that, we are confident with what we have and those young guys can just run all day. Graydon Wilson has gone to another level already and his fitness and composure inside a contest is outstanding. So we can feed him all the ball and let him run, I like the back-line we'll have.

I mentioned Amesy before and I've heard he'll be on the microphone for our games this year. It's definitely going to be interesting and it's going to be hard to block him out from out on the field. Knowing Amesy, you never know what direction he's going to go in but he's definitely going to be vocal and will get the crowd involved. That's going to be helpful for us during our home games because the louder our fans get, the more it helps us on the field.

Now looking forward to Saturday and South Fremantle are going to come in with a pretty different team this year. We were watching vision during the week and I only recognised one face in their forward-line and that was Mason Shaw. But the way they play will be similar even though they are a bit young and quicker, but their game style won't change much.

Over the last couple of years, we've been able to do a pretty good job counteracting their game style and get on top of it at times. We'll try to take what Stav and Pickers tell us to do because they put a lot of research into it. If we listen to them it will help us out and us defenders will just need some help from our midfielders to keep pressure on the ball to slow them down and force the high balls in where Notte and the rest of us can try to mark the ball.