Life of a Footballer: The winter blues

SA vs. Vic Country_20160624_22
Bendigo Pioneers have had to get by without the services of their state representative players such as Joe Atley (centre, #21). Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Wong.

Life of a footballer: by Jamieson Sheahan

Life of a footballer is a personal insight by Bendigo Pioneers football operations manager and midfielder Jamieson Sheahan. Jamieson has kindly allowed us to have a unique piece that looks at the inside workings of a TAC Cup club so everyone can get an understanding of what these young men do to become the best Australian Rules footballers they can. For the rest of the season, Jamieson will provide updates on how not only his season, but his teammates season and the club’s season is going, and what the club is doing behind closed doors in the lead-up to matches.

The last fortnight has been very busy for the Pioneers with the Under 18s National Championships starting up in which we have six of our boys representing Vic Country: Joe Atley, Braidon Blake, Kane Farrell, Kayle Kirby, Cooper Jones and Lochie O’Brien. We also had one representing NSW/ACT and the Allies in Kobe Mutch.

The championships have opened up opportunities for some of our younger Pioneers players on the list to experience playing in a TAC Cup game for the first time. During the championships we even had two list additions from the local Bendigo Football League in Fergus Greene and Bailey Henderson due to continued good form.
Unfortunately our last three games have resulted in losses with two of them coming at the hands of top four teams Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers. Although we had a great win prior to these 3 games against the Sandringham Dragons, which is a team that we had been unable to defeat in over 10 years. A loss to the Northern Knights in Round 11 was a disappointing result for the group who were looking to make their own history and be inside the top eight after 11 rounds, something that has not happened in many years at the Pioneers.

As a result of this loss, we will have two intense training sessions in the lead up to the game against the Calder Cannons in Swan Hill. The feeling around the group has been really great recently, and this should be taken onto the track this week as we focus on becoming a tougher side with contested ball and tackling. The boys will be looking to have a strong showing against the Cannons and earn some respect back that may have been lost over the last couple of week.

Below is a summary of a normal week at the Bendigo Pioneers as we prepare for a game.

Monday, June 27th
The boys are on school holidays this week and are completing individual recovery at either Healthy Mates Bendigo (recovery centre) or a nearby pool. The recovery session will be to prepare the players for two solid training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday night.

Vision and review of the game is available at the Bendigo Pioneers Head Office in Golden Square and boys will have the opportunity to sit down and review the game with head coach Brett Henderson and line coaches Dennis Grinton and Cameron Carter.

Tuesday, June 28th
Bendigo Pioneers full squad training night will see majority of the squad travel to Epsom/Huntly Recreation Reserve (home training base) for the main session of the week.
Some players will travel up to one and a half hours to get to training, which is a fantastic commitment to the program. Training commences at approximately 5pm and running until roughly 6.30pm.

At the conclusion of training the players all sit down to a dinner provided by our sponsor JL-King & Co which may include spaghetti bolognaise/lasagne or potato scallops. The leadership group then have their weekly meeting after dinner and discuss the weekend that was and what we feel we need to work on for the upcoming game.

Thursday June 30th
Bendigo Pioneers playing squad training night at Epsom/Huntly Reserve in which all of the selected players for the upcoming game attend. Thursday’s session is a more skill orientated night with structure work to make sure we understand how we are wanting to play against the weekend’s opponent.

Following training there is dinner provided again for the players and then Brett Henderson conducts our main meeting for the week and announces the side for the game. Vision is shown to players to get an understanding of their upcoming opponent and how they like to play and how we think we can play to beat them.

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