With preseason well and truly underway, clubs and players are starting to ramp up their preparations for a big 2023 AFL season.
Coaches have planned heaps of running, ball drills and new game plans to implement over the next few months leading into the March start of the next campaign.
However, some players will have limited production during the summer due to recurring or new injuries.
Stay tuned to Sporting News to ensure you don’t miss any of the latest preseason news.
Latest AFL preseason news
AFL reveal pre-season match ups ahead of 2023 season
Wednesday Jan 24
The AFL has recently revealed some official pre-season matches ahead of the upcoming 2023 season.
AFL.com.au journalist Josh Gabelich was quick to announce some of the clashes scheduled for February and March.
“Expected to be locked in next week. Geelong v Hawthorn, St Kilda v Melbourne, NM v Richmond, Essendon v Gold Coast, Sydney v Bris,” Gabelich tweeted.
Club organised scratch match fixture starting to take shape for Feb 23/24. Expected to be locked in next week. Geelong v Hawthorn, St Kilda v Melbourne, NM v Richmond, Essendon v Gold Coast, Sydney v Bris & SA/WA mix + more with @NathanSchmook @AFLcomau https://t.co/9VRAyFFPU5
— Josh Gabelich (@JoshGabelich) January 25, 2023
This comes as journalist Ryan Daniels also revealed that the Western and South Australian teams are planning on playing practice matches also.
Potential pre-season match-ups for WA, SA teams
Tuesday Jan 24
With the AFL season increased by one week, due to the Gather Round, the league felt it would benefit from reducing the preseason schedule and start the competition earlier.
Usually two organised pre-season matches prior to the beginning of the season, now there may only be one.
Journalist Ryan Daniels believes that for the Western and South Australian teams, a clash on February 24 could occur.
Believe this will be the pre-season fixtures for WA teams.
— Ryan Daniels (@FootyRhino) January 24, 2023
Moore on the mend as star eyes of round one, captaincy
Tuesday Jan 24
Collingwood’s Darcy Moore is well and truly on the mend, with the key defender’s preseason interrupted by a bone infection before the Christmas break.
Moore has since been taking it easy but joined the group in the last week in a bid to ramp up his preparations before round one.
The All-Australian is confident about his availability for the start of the season and believes the infection is in the rear view mirror.
“I am (confident about round one availability). I’m feeling really good so far. It’s still early days, and more than anything, just happy to be moving again and back around the boys,” Moore said.
“It’s obviously been a bit interrupted. I’ve had a pretty smooth return the last couple of weeks since we’ve been back. I’m just happy to be back running, moving and kicking the footy again.
“It’s an exciting time for me after a rough couple of months. I’m building really well. The physios and medical team and conditioning team are taking really good care for me. I’ve got a really good plan in place to get back.”
However, when pressed about the vacant captaincy at the club, Moore played it cool and noted that there is a process that will be followed to decide who is right to lead the club.
“It is obviously something that’s been spoken about and we’re as excited as anyone about what the future holds for the leadership of the team,” he said.
“This is obviously a pretty special team; we achieved some great things last year and showed a lot of character. That shows that the group is really healthy, whoever leads from the front.
“I think there definitely is a group of us that have the experience and traits that are definitely capable of doing it. It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to. Dad was obviously a past captain of the club.”
Mitchell gives insight to next Hawthorn captain
Tuesday Jan 24
Hawthorn’s captaincy appointment was a topic of conversation at coach Sam Mitchell’s press conference, after the departure of Ben McEvoy from the club.
Mitchell – who didn’t give too much away – admitted there were many candidates that would suit the role well, with the Hawks nearing their decision.
“Externally, James Sicily is the obvious one, but certainly there are a lot of players that I wouldn’t underestimate their influence on our group,” Mitchell said.
“I don’t think we’ll have a leadership vote, it won’t be as plainly as that – it will be a discussion.
“What do we stand for? What do we want to achieve? Who’s the best people to take us there?
“You don’t need to be a master of everything to be a captain of a footy club, you need to be strong in a couple of areas and know how to get other people to help you in others.”
Fremantle forward impresses on track
Tuesday Jan 24
Fremantle small forward Sam Switkowski has impressed on the training track recently, with the club saying he has shown ‘spark’ in the forward half.
The Dockers noted that Switkowski was the one to watch during the club’s match simulation, providing plenty of pressure and looking dangerous around goal.
In the past, the 26-year-old has struggled to stay on the park as injuries have hindered his consistency at the level.
However, Switkowski is keen on reversing that trend in 2023 and is excited by what he and the team can bring to the upcoming season.
“I’d love to just play a full season, it’s been a long time since I have,” Switkowski said.
“That’s probably number one, and how I make that happen is a variety of factors – consistency in my training and hoping for a bit of luck as well.
“At the same time, I need to keep improving my game, there’s a lot of competition for spots so you can’t get complacent. If you were in the 22 last year, it doesn’t mean it will happen again, so I have to keep improving and practicing my craft.
“I’m building and gaining more confidence with my footy and I’m loving building the chemistry with the guys and the finals experience last year.
“Things are tracking upwards and I’m really excited for what we can produce this year.”
Duursma doing damage in preseason
Tuesday Jan 24
Port Adelaide’s Xavier Duursma has revealed that he is feeling as fit as ever and is ready to make an impact in 2023.
Duursma has suffered from multiple injuries and form setbacks which has hindered his ability to add consistency to his game, but is keen to make any amends for the time lost thus far.
“Definitely aerially, I wasn’t confident at all with my knee, with my shoulder… I wasn’t confident to be able to jump, if I’m being honest. Fitness as well, I was nowhere near as fit as I am now. I’m feeling really good about (my game) now,” Duursma said.
“It’s been a challenging couple of years and I’ve learned a lot about myself but I think at the same time, I think this is building towards a really good year (for me). That’s what I’m hoping for and working toward on the track.”
Duursma also opened up about his work with the club psychologist and how that’s helped him build his confidence.
“(I worked on) a fair bit of this by myself, but there were also times where I did work with Dave our mindset coach and Amanda, who is our club psychologist.
“(I did) a little bit of looking at old vision and I had some good chats with my dad in the off-season. He’s a pretty wise footy mind, he definitely knows what he’s talking about, so I like to listen to him.”
Lions snap up former Saint
Tuesday Jan 24
Brisbane has recently signed former St Kilda defender, Darragh Joyce as a pre-season supplemental selection.
Joyce – who was at the Saints for six years – was recently delisted by the club but now gets his second chance in the AFL at the Lions.
Key defender Marcus Adams was recently put on the inactive list due to ongoing concussion issues, opening a spot up at the club.
The Lions have recognised a need to bolster their defence and the inclusion of Joyce will assist that.
“We’re really pleased to have Darragh on board to help bolster our defence,” Brisbane GM Danny Daly said.
“We’ve been watching his journey over the past few years, and we feel confident he can play a role in our team.
“We see Darragh as a great fit for our Club given his toughness around the contest, and he comes to us with some valuable experience from having been in the AFL system over the past six years.”
Hunter’s role at Demons “critical”
Sunday Jan 22
New Melbourne recruit Lachie Hunter has been labelled as “critical” on the wing as he suits up with his new club.
Hunter made the switch from the Western Bulldogs in the 2022 Trade Period and is expected to relish in the fresh start.
Journalist Josh Gabelich believes that the Bulldogs best-and-fairest winner can be pivotal to the Demons 2023 premiership chances, teaming up with elite winger Ed Langdon.
“He’s had some on-field and off-field issues so if he can get himself right, I think he can come in and play a pretty critical role for them,” Gabelich said, according to SEN.
“They’ve already got one of the best wingmen in the comp in Ed Langdon, so if Lachie Hunter can get back to his best, they’re going to have an awesome wing combination,” Gabelich said.
“(Melbourne) obviously identified a spot on the wing that they needed to address, that’s why they were so into Karl Amon heading into the trade period, they missed out on him to Hawthorn obviously.”
Tall Dog being trialled in defence
Sunday Jan 22
Western Bulldogs tall Josh Bruce has been trialled in defence across the pre-season given the excess amount of bigs.
Bruce – who has been a forward most of his playing career and played down back early on – has returned to the defensive six to open more formations for coach Luke Beveridge.
The club landed Rory Lobb and Liam Jones in the offseason, adding to the impressive youth of Sam Darcy, Aaron Naughton and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.
Journalist Josh Gabelich noted his interest in Bruce’s trial run down back and wondered if it could work with the 2021 finalists.
“I think it’s going to be one of the good talking points heading into Round 1, what they do down back,” Gabelich told SEN.
“They went and got Liam Jones as a free agent, Alex Keath was in and out of the team at the end of the year, Ryan Gardner is a lock and Josh Bruce was trialling in defence.
“He’s gone back to where he started his AFL career.”
Young Hawk feels like a ‘different player’
Sunday Jan 22
Hawthorn’s Will Day expressed that he feels like a ‘different player’ after participating in a full preseason.
Day – who played 17 games in 2022 – is keen to continue adding to that tally and take on more responsibility in the team.
“Last season I just had a little bit of a break (ankle) after the end of the year and then got straight back into it a few weeks later and it’s held up really well,” Day said.
“It’s probably been my first full pre-season so far without any niggles so I’m loving it.
“I have a lot more confidence in my body and with my fitness levels I’ve managed to get a lot more workload in and a bit more strength behind me as well.”
Coach Sam Mitchell is looking at trialling Day in the midfield, as he’s spent more time in there across the summer months.
“It’s been a good change up, I definitely see myself there in the long-term, so it’s been good to get some work in,” Day said.
“Last year I had some exposure to the midfield as well and I think it’s something Sam and I have been chatting about.
“The end of last year we had a meeting and said this was the way we were going to go, so I’m pretty excited.”
Saints trifecta impresses King
Sunday Jan 22
St Kilda trio Marcus Windhager, Mitch Owens and Matthew Allisson have impressed former player David King, with the youngsters making their case for round one.
King – who went down to the club – noticed some improvements in the development of the Saints’ youth, hinting at a surprising jump up the ladder in 2023.
“I went down to see the Saints earlier in the week, you get taken by the work of Windhager and Owens,” King told SEN.
“I think we’ve talked a lot about these guys but they look ready to roll.”
“There’s another kid that’s been on the list for two or three seasons, Matt Allisson, a boy from St Bernards,” King added.
“He reared up and took a couple of really strong pack marks in their match sim work and I thought ‘Gee, that’s something that Saints fans will love to see’.
“He’s about 195cm and is still putting on size but he’s made some inroads this off-season, he hasn’t been exposed to senior football just yet but they’ll be itching to have a look at early in 2023.”
Worpel returns to 2019 best in preseason match sim
Sunday Jan 22
Hawthorn midfielder James Worpel has been touted for a big 2023 after dominating a match simulation at the club.
The 2019 Peter Crimmins Medalist has struggled over the past few years through injury and form but is keen to put that behind him as the Hawks rebuild.
Worpel admitted it was “frustrating” at times when he wasn’t in the senior side and is ready to make amends.
“It was quite frustrating, but form is up to you; obviously it’s up to you and what you’re doing outside of footy and on the track is probably the main two,” Worpel told AFL.com.au.
“Sam worked really with me throughout the year. He got me back to VFL, played some good footy down there and obviously got me back into the team and I did my shoulder. That was a bit frustrating, but these things happen in peoples’ careers. It is just good to get back into it.”
Dockers pair excited for 2023
Sunday Jan 22
Fremantle duo Will Brodie and Josh Treacy are excited by what the club could achieve in 2023.
Brodie – who joined the Dockers as a salary dump from Gold Coast at the end of 2021 – produced a career best season where he went toe-to-toe with the game’s best midfielders.
The former Sun was a great addition to the club, complementing Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong perfectly, alleviating pressure from David Mundy and Nat Fyfe in 2022.
Brodie has been hampered by injury and lack of opportunities in the past and now feels after a “full season”, he is ready to explode.
“I feel like I’ve had one full season in the AFL now. I learnt so many things and had so many experiences I can build on for next season,” Brodie said.
“I’m really excited for what can happen this year.
“Over the past 12 months I’ve been able to understand the game plan and understand how my teammates play. I’m ready to put that together, go forward and get better.”
Out-of-luck forward Treacy believes that he can step up into the key forward, after the club lost Rory Lobb to the Western Bulldogs.
The departure of Lobb has meant that the Dockers will need to rely on new sources for goal and the 19-gamer believes he can take some of that on.
“I feel a little bit of that responsibility. It leaves a great hole, not only as a player but as a person too. He was a great mentor and someone I worked really closely with,” Treacy said.
“I’m building connections with Jye (Amiss) and ‘Tabs’ (Matt Taberner) and Josh (Corbett) so we can have a successful year as a forward unit regardless of who’s down there kicking goals. That’s what we’re all looking for.”
Mid-season pick Jai Culley ready for more responsibility
Sunday Jan 22
West Coast’s Jai Culley believes he is “ready” to step up into more responsibility, proving that he belongs at AFL level.
Culley was pick one in the mid-season draft and featured in four games but struggled to cement his spot in the struggling Eagles side.
However, the youngster is confident that after a full pre-season and being part of the system that he can start making a difference for the club.
“I have a few goals I want to tick off, and to play round one is my aim right now. That’s driving me, to start in there and hold my spot,” Culley told AFL.com.au.
“You have to have that belief and confidence in your ability to play and I think I’m ready, so hopefully I can take that spot.
“We’ve got a few new draftees and Jack Redden retired, so there is some space in there, but competitiveness in training is good and we’re all fighting for those spots this year, especially in the midfield.”
Gawn injures hamstring at training
Saturday Jan 21
Melbourne’s Max Gawn has injured his hamstring at training, with fears it could hinder his 2023 preparations.
The club said that Gawn would undergo scans to determine the damage after he was forced to leave the track early.
“Max unfortunately had some hamstring awareness towards the end of this morning’s training session,” Melbourne’s GM of AFL Performance Alan Richardson told Melbourne Media.
“He will be closely monitored and assessed over the weekend. We’re hopeful we will have some further clarity early next week.”
Saints sign Stocker; Second Pie lands at the Crows
Saturday Jan 21
There has been two recent signings under the pre-season supplemental selection period, with St Kilda landing former Carlton player Liam Stocker and Adelaide signing Collingwood’s Mark Keane.
Stocker – who was a shock delisting from the Blues at the end of 2022 – has been training with the Saints for the majority of the pre-season in hope of an AFL lifeline.
The midfielder officially signed with his new club on Friday and said he’s stoked to be in the colours he supported as a kid
“I put up a post when I was delisted that said ‘I’ll be back’, and I was pretty firm on that. I believe I’ve got a lot more to give at AFL level and that hasn’t really wavered since,” Stocker told saints.com.au.
“When I got in Ross Lyon made it pretty apparent what I had to do to get a spot on the list and I feel I’ve worked towards that pretty well.
“Getting to know a new group of boys and a new club as a whole has been really exciting though – difficult at times as well – but the club’s been superb with me.
“From staff to players, everyone’s made me feel really welcome and I’ve felt as close to a part of the group as ever.”
Former Pies defender Keane joined teammate Tyler Brown in signing with the Crows as an SSP pick.
The Irishmen – who filled the final spot of the South Australian side – retired at the end of 2021 after struggling to make an impact at AFL level and returned home.
However, Keane did flag an interest in returning to the league in May last year and now has done so officially, signing with Adelaide.
The 22-year-old spoke on the process he has gone through over the past few seasons, according to AFL.com.au.
“I never lost the passion to play the sport and when the opportunity arose to come back it was something I obviously considered very strongly,” Keane said.
“The circumstances are right and so is the timing on the back of winning an All Ireland Grand Final with my club Ballygiblin.
“I will be able to have my family and friends fly out and visit which will make a big difference and I’ll also have the support of my partner Caoimha who will be moving to Adelaide as well so we are very excited about what lies ahead.”
Isaac Smith provides insight in 2022 premiers preseason
Saturday Jan 21
2022 Norm Smith Medalist Isaac Smith has provided a lengthy insight into the premiers’ pre-season, flagging potential new roles for some players.
Geelong – who were very active in the trade period despite winning the flag – were able to snare young talents Ollie Henry, Tanner Bruhn and Jack Bowes from rival clubs, proving to be the best at list management in the AFL.
“I think it was pretty highlighted what the club did in the off-season trade period, getting Tanner Bruhn and Jack Bowes in, (but) we’ve also got some young players underneath that are working (hard). I think we’re very confident in how that’s progressing and the players that we’re rolling through there,” Smith said.
“I’m just trying to get a game. All these young guys, they come out and they’re quicker, fitter, stronger, bigger. No, I’m not sure exactly, I think the beauty of being experienced and being a bit older is that you’re happy to just play any role that gets thrown at you.
“When you win it, it only takes about two or three weeks and you’ve already moved on to the next season. We haven’t really mentioned that we won the premiership – we celebrated that last year, and onto the next one, hopefully.”
Essendon’s high-prized draft pick to undergo surgery
Saturday Jan 21
Pick five in the 2022 Draft, Elijah Tsatas, is set to undergo surgery after injuring his knee at training.
Tsatas suffered an acute meniscus tear and will likely miss the opening rounds of the 2023 season.
Bombers GM of performance Dan McPherson provided an insight into the youngster injury.
“Elijah suffered a knock to the knee during a contest drill earlier in the week, and the initial scan showed a minor tear in his meniscus. He has been assessed by a surgeon today who has recommended it be repaired,” McPherson said.
“The post-operation timeframes will be determined following the surgery but he is a young player with a bright future ahead of him, so whilst this setback is disappointing, we won’t be rushing his return to play.
“He’s had a great start to his time in the AFL system having produced a very impressive pre-season to this point. We will give him the required time to recover to ensure he is best prepared to re-join the AFL program.”
Injured Carlton duo on path to recovery
Wednesday Jan 18
Carlton pair Matthew Cottrell and Jordan Boyd are on the path to recovery but will be spending some time on the sideline.
The Blues confirmed that Boyd re-injured his acute stress fracture in his foot and will seek a specialist and undergo surgery.
Cottrell on the other hand is mending a navicular stress fracture in his foot and has been sporting a weight bearing moon boot.
He will return to running once significant healing shows up in the scan.
Head of Football Brad Lloyd provided updates on the duo.
“It’s disappointing news for Matthew and Jordan, who have shown an appetite to compete since day one of pre-season,” Lloyd said.
“We know both players will leave no stone unturned in their recovery: Matthew has already been very diligent in his rehab, and we know Jordan will do the exact same post-surgery.
“We will give both players the required time to recover to ensure they’re in the best possible position to positively impact the team in season 2023.”
Essendon’s Martin looking to improve after impressive debut season
Wednesday Jan 18
Essendon youngster Nic Martin is keen to improve after an impressive debut season in 2022.
According to the club, Martin has ‘bulked’ up in a bid to play more midfield minutes, getting ‘fitter and stronger’ over the offseason.
The 21-year-old has been reported to have added three kilograms since the end of last season and is more than happy to do the extras to take his game to the next level.
“I went straight back to Perth after the season finished and did a gym program with Body Majic, trying to get my body right for a full AFL pre-season,” Martin told The West Australian.
“I’ve never had a full AFL pre-season before so I thought I’d get on top of it early and give myself the best opportunity to go full steam ahead.
“I wanted to put on some kilos and some muscle mass which I did, while also not losing my running ability because I feel like that’s my one-wood.”
Martin joined the Bombers as a pre-season supplemental selection and has proved most doubters wrong who have overlooked him in previous drafts.
Suns running hot in the pre-season
Wednesday Jan 18
Gold Coast have provided an in-depth analysis on who is burning up the pre-season track ahead of the 2023 season.
With the highly anticipated return of Ben King on most minds of Suns fans, there are less recognisable names turning heads at training.
Sam Flanders has been super impressive so far and has been flagged as one of the best trainers at the moment.
Flanders has been leading by example, upping the intensity and his leadership throughout the blocks.
Will Powell is also “flying” after recovering from an ankle injury that ended his 2022 season prematurely.
Lachie Weller continues to tick off boxes as he attempts to return from an ACL injury while Brandon Ellis set a new 2km time trial record.
Jack Lukosius has been training with the forward group and looks extremely comfortable.
New recruit Ben Long as adjusted to life on the Gold Coast swimmingly and will assume his most identifiable position across the half back.
Adelaide confirm signing of Pies father-son
Wednesday Jan 18
Adelaide have confirmed the signing of former Collingwood player Tyler Brown as a pre-season supplemental selection.
Brown – who spent five years at the Pies – has been training with the Crows during the offseason and has taken one of the two vacant spots left by Paul Seedsman and Fischer McAsey.
Adelaide list manager Justin Reid is excited by the prospect of the 23-year-old and what he can provide the club.
“Tyler brings experience from five years in the AFL system and knows what it takes to play at the highest level so we are thrilled to add him to our group,” Reid said according to AFL.com.au.
“He is primarily a midfielder but can also play a variety of roles across the ground which we are excited about.
“He comes from a very good football family, is hard-working and driven to make the most of his opportunity so we look forward to having him at the club for the 2023 season.”
Brown was very “grateful” for the second chance in the AFL.
“I’m very grateful for getting another opportunity to join an AFL club and I’m really excited to be part of a young group that has a lot of promise for the future,” Brown said.
“I felt welcome here as soon as I walked in the door and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into training with my new teammates.”
Crow wingman Seedsman placed on inactive list
Tuesday Jan 17
Adelaide has recently placed Paul Seedsman on the inactive list due to the wingman’s dealings with concussion.
Crows Head of Football Adam Kelly spoke on the decision surrounding Seedsman and the difficulty he’s had over the past few years.
“We have come to the realisation that Paul will not be in a position to play this year given he is still experiencing symptoms and has not been able to advance his physical preparation for the season ahead,” Kelly said.
“To Paul’s credit, he came forward and acknowledged this now so the Club can identify someone in the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP) that we can provide an opportunity to.
“Throughout his recovery we have remained fully supportive and hopeful of him returning to football however, the priority has always been his health and wellbeing.
“As an industry we understand concussion is a serious and complex injury and while on the inactive list Paul will continue to work closely with our doctors and medical staff, as well as concussion experts.
“He remains an important part of our group and has our full support in what has been a very challenging time, losing two years of his career after what was an outstanding 2021 season.”
Now that Seedsman is on the inactive list, the Crows do have another vacant spot on their list given that Fischer McAsey also walked away from the club.
Former pick 3 Phillips is ready to go come round one
Tuesday Jan 17
North Melbourne‘s Will Phillips has battled injury since being picked up with pick three in the 2020 Draft.
However, the youngster – who debuted in round three 2021 – is keen to put those injuries behind him and start playing AFL football.
“(The) body is feeling really good now, it’s been a long time coming for me obviously,” Phillips said.
“I started from a pretty low base but I feel like I’m in a position now to be able to ramp up my training and hopefully get involved in the practice matches in a few weeks.
“It’s been a pretty long journey but I’m really happy with the position I’m in now.
“More recently in the past couple of months I’ve really stepped up my training and I’m at a point now where I’m doing more game sense drills which is much more fun than what I was doing previously.”
Phillips also flagged some youngsters who have been impressive on the track.
“I think all of the first-years are doing pretty well but the intensity of Blake Drury and the craft of Harry Sheezel has probably struck me the most. I think they could both push for selection early,” he said.
“Jacko Archer is probably another one that’s really stepped up his game. He’s put on a lot of size and he’s running well so hopefully I can play alongside him in 2023.”
Eagles veterans lighting up the track
Tuesday Jan 17
West Coast veterans have been lighting up the track early in the new year, with Dom Sheed and Elliot Yeo leading the way.
The Eagles were disappointing in 2022 after winning only two games and would be keen to turn that around in 2023.
Youngster Luke Edwards has also been doing nice things at the club while draftees Reuben Ginbey and Elijah Hewett, dreadlocked bull Jai Culley, Xavier O’Neill and Campbell Chesser shape as the future of an exciting engine room.
Tim Kelly and Luke Shuey look to be back at their best and are building toward a big year.
Melbourne’s McDonald nearing full health
Tuesday Jan 17
Melbourne swingman Tom McDonald is appearing to be at full health as he attempts to overcome a lisfranc injury that derailed the back half of his 2022 season.
McDonald – who’s proven to be an important point of structure for the Demons – has fully integrated into training.
The 30-year-old said to the club that he’s been on top of the rehabilitation of the injury and is progressing with each week.
“I’m doing everything now,” McDonald said.
“It’s just a balance of how much work you can do in a week without pushing it a little bit too far over the edge, but still push each week to do a little bit more.
“I’m doing all the sessions, it’s just managing day-to-day soreness and how much stuff I can do in the gym.”
The veteran also cited some names who have impressed him throughout the 2023 preseason.
“Jacob’s [van Rooyen] been amazing… he’s been the real standout for me,” McDonald says.
“Bill [Bailey] Lawrie has been doing an awesome job. I know he’s not a first-year player, but he’s made a real leap.
“Taj Woewodin has come forward in little bits and pieces here and there and been really impressive.
“Melky has looked really good.”
Fremantle match sim
Tuesday Jan 17
The Fremantle football club played off in an intra-club match simulation, with an 18v18 taking place.
New recruit Luke Jackson was impressive in Dockers colours as he tackled fellow ruckman and teammate Sean Darcy in the middle.
The pair were noted as some of the better performers on the day, whilst the midfield brigade of Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, Matthew Johnson and Neil Erasmus also played well.
Other recruit Corey Wagner proved to be an excellent pick up, using his clean ball use and dash off half back to turn defence into attack.
Liam Henry may have found his spot on the wing while Hayden Young continues to improve with every training session.
More bad news for Hayes
Tuesday Jan 17
St Kilda’s Jack Hayes has suffered another setback, with a new foot injury forcing an expected lengthy stint on the sidelines.
The club revealed Hayes left the training track early, with scans confirming a metatarsal break.
David Mission from the Saints spoke on the 26-year-old’s injury and the potential timeline of return.
“Jack has been dealt a really rough hand since debuting last season,” Performance, Medical and Operations Manager David Misson said.
“Jack had just returned to full training after completing his ACL rehabilitation, so for this to happen is very disappointing.
“The recovery period for an injury like this is typically between 8 to 10 weeks.
“His resilience has been unfairly tested for an athlete so early in his career, but we know that he will attack his rehab in the same professional manner we have become accustomed to.”
Good news for Moore; Kreuger down again
Monday Jan 16
Darcy Moore has began running after dealing with a bone infection that delayed his preseason.
Moore – who is in line to replace Scott Pendlebury as Collingwood captain – was seen at the club doing a modified training program as he readies himself for the start of the season.
Collingwood’s Nathan Kreuger has undergone a reconstruction on his right shoulder after injuring it during a training session prior to the Christmas break.
Kreguer was seen in a sling at training on Monday, walking laps and watching his teammates from the sideline.
There has not been a timeline as to when he’ll return but he could miss the first month of the season.
Youngster Finlay Macrae was forced to halt his preseason trainings following a stress fracture in his back and will be building slowly over the next few months.
Pies GM Graham Wright provided an update an each.
“It is unfortunate for Nathan Kreuger to have sustained an injury to his right shoulder after experiencing a setback with his left shoulder last year,” Wright said.
“Nathan underwent surgery last week and, at this stage, the aim is for him to be available within the first six rounds of the upcoming season.
“Fin Macrae has been working through a stress-related back issue and the plan is for him to be back running within the next couple of weeks.
“Darcy Moore is tracking well after suffering a bone infection and we are pleased to see him back running and re-integrated into the football program. Due to the nature of Darcy’s setback, we will continue to monitor his progress closely and will provide further updates in due course.”
Young Tiger suffers hamstring blow
Monday Jan 16
Richmond defender Josh Gibcus has suffered a hamstring blow and was reportedly carried off the track by trainers.
AFL.com.au announced that Gibcus will see a specialist on Tuesday to determine whether he requires surgery.
It is believed that the Tigers think he’ll most likely go under the knife given the likely severity of the injury.
Richmond performance manager Luke Meehan spoke briefly on the next step for Gibcus.
“Unfortunately, Josh suffered what we think is a pretty serious hamstring injury (on Monday),” Meehan said.
“It’s pretty fresh, he will consult specialists in the next couple of days and we’ll know the plan of action from there.”
Josh Gibcus suffered a suspected serious hamstring injury at training this morning. Carried off the track by two trainers. Will meet with a specialist tomorrow to determine if surgery is required @AFLcomau
— Josh Gabelich (@JoshGabelich) January 16, 2023
Brisbane’s Adams ruled out for 2023 season with concussion
Monday Jan 16
Brisbane key defender Marcus Adams ruled out for 2023 season following concussion issues.
Adams – who started experiencing concussion symptoms in August – has been placed on the inactive list at the Lions, with the club putting his health first.
Brisbane GM of Football Danny Daly spoke on the matter,
“Unfortunately, Marcus is dealing with a serious injury that will unlikely see him play in 2023,” said Daly.
“While he is making some progress in his recovery from concussion, he continues to experience symptoms and his health and wellbeing remains the top priority.
“The club is fully supportive of Marcus and his recovery, and he will remain involved with our footy program.”
Since Adams has been placed on the inactive list, the Lions now have a vacant spot for 2023.
Western Bulldogs training update
Monday Jan 16
The Western Bulldogs are back into the thick of things, with all players returning to the kennel and ramping up preparations for the 2023 AFL season.
Young prospect Sam Darcy has returned to full training after an interrupted start to his second pre-season in the system.
Darcy was dealing with an infection in his knee prior to the Christmas break but has been reported to be over the potential injury issue, according to AFL.com.au.
However, midfielder Adam Treloar has continued to train away from the main group as he recovers from an operation on his ankle in September.
Treloar is expected to be raring to go come round one but still has some steps to go in his comeback.
Youngsters Bailey Smith, Rhylee West and Jedd Busslinger are all on their way to joining the main group but are just working back into the preseason.
Lions wanting to go one further in 2023
Friday Jan 13
Brisbane are setting their sights on the last Saturday of the 2023 AFL season, after a disappointing outing in the preliminary final against Geelong last year.
With new recruits Josh Dunkley and Jack Gunston, as well as draftees Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher, the club is primed to take its next step toward premiership glory.
According to the Lions’ website, gun small forward Charlie Cameron has at full flight during Wednesday’s training session.
Veteran Dayne Zorko continued to defy odds about his age, as his pre-season is arguably one of the more consistent ones in recent years.
Zac Bailey and Harris Andrews continue to add elements of a leadership to their game, with most noticing how vocal and instructive they were.
Father-son Fletcher also returned to training as he recovers from a back injury.
Hawks pair back to full training
Friday 13 Jan
Hawthorn pair Ned Reeves and Sam Frost have both returned to full training after their 2022 seasons were cut short by injury.
Frost – who hurt his knee in round 13 against Fremantle – transitioned into the main group on Thursday.
Reeves is also nearing full health after dislocating his shoulder in July and having the necessary surgery to get it fixed.
New draftee Josh Weddle won the four by 1km time trial tests, impressing in his first few months at the AFL club.
Taranto takes home 2km time trial, again
Thursday 12 Jan
Richmond’s new recruit Tim Taranto has taken home the 2km time trial again, as the club returns from the New Year break.
Taranto – who managed to pip aerobic freak Kamdyn McIntosh before Christmas – managed to do the same again on Thursday, only this time, holding off youngster Hugo Ralphsmith.
The former Giant is setting the standards at his new club, after playing 114 games for the New South Wales side.
Following Taranto and Ralphsmith was Nathan Broad in third, with Jack Ross and Liam Baker rounding out the top five.
Two from two for Tim Taranto. The @Richmond_FC recruit has now won both 2km time trials either side of Christmas. Just held off Hugo Ralphsmith by a second. Nathan Broad finished 3rd. Jack Ross & Liam Baker next across the line at Punt Road @AFLcomau
— Josh Gabelich (@JoshGabelich) January 11, 2023
Returning Dog not done with yet
Thursday 12 Jan
Returning Western Bulldogs defender Liam Jones is setting himself for a big 2023 season, after missing 12 months due to the COVID-19 vaccine implications.
Jones – who left the Dogs for Carlton at the end of 2014 – has come back to where it all began and is keen to make an immediate impact at the Whitten Oval.
“It is funny how things work out. I’m just super grateful the club is putting its trust in me to give the opportunity,” he said.
“It’s always been my dream to play AFL football so to continue that dream where it started is really special to me. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned.
“I feel like every year since I moved to defence I’ve improved every year and I’ll continue wanting to improve. I’m nowhere near a finished product.”
Jones said that he’s been able to keep up with the AFL regime, despite playing in the QAFL in 2022.
“I feel really great. I thought the tempo and intensity of training (might take some time to adjust to), but in saying that I feel like I’ve stayed in really good shape, kept myself really fit,” he said.
“I touched base with the weights coach and running coach here, so prior to pre-season training starting I was going for about three months. I feel like I’m in as good as shape as I’ve ever been in.”
St Kilda welcomes back string of key players from injuries
Thursday Jan 12
St Kilda has happily welcome back a string of key players to their pre-season program, with Jade Gresham the biggest of the bunch.
Gresham (knee), along with Jack Billings (back), Josh Battle (ankle), Jack Hayes (knee), Dan McKenzie (calf) and Oscar Adams (back) have all returned to the main group.
However, new draftee Olli Hotton is likely to miss the first half of the 2023 season after scans revealed a stress fracture in his back.
Saints Performance, medical and operations manager David Mission expressed his disappointment in Hotton’s start to AFL life.
“This injury is a really disappointing blow for Olli who, like any draftee, was keen to get stuck into his program,” Mission said.
“The recovery for this type of injury requires a period of rest before incremental load increases, which while frustrating, should mean that this issue does not reoccur.
“In the meantime, unfortunately it is likely that Olli will miss the majority of the first half of the season while he recovers.”
Nick Coffield, Tom Campbell and Zak Jones are also working their way back to full training programs.
“I’m ready.” – Allen looking forward to challenge of replacing Eagles great
Thursday Jan 12
West Coast’s Oscar Allen has deemed himself ready to go in 2023 and will attempt to fill the void left by forward Josh Kennedy following his retirement.
Allen missed the entire 2022 season due to a foot injury and was forced to watch his team put together two wins from the sidelines.
The youngster has showed plenty of promise – including slotting 28 goals in 2021 – and will now look toward carving out his own path as the Eagles key forward.
“I think I’m ready. You’ve got to have that confidence,” Allen said.
“It’s something that Jack (Darling’s) done with JK. People talk about JK’s record over a long period of time, as they should, but Jack’s done some incredible things in his own right.
“We pretty much had two No.1 forwards for a long period of time so I’m looking forward to doing that with Jack in the future as well.”
Former Pie looking to change to Crows nest
Wednesday 11 Jan
Former Collingwood player, Tyler Brown, has been asking to train with Adelaide as he looks for an AFL lifeline.
Brown – the son of Magpie legend Gavin Brown – was delisted alongside his brother Callum at the end of 2022 but is hopeful for another chance at the elite level.
The Crows are looking to bolster their midfield to ensure there’s plenty of talent after Rory Sloane and Rory Laird inevitably depart.
Adelaide didn’t have any spots available until Fischer McAsey opted to give up his position at the club.
McAsey said he wasn’t enjoying his time in the AFL and decided to walk away, opening a list spot for the Crows.
Brown is vying for a spot through the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP), which is open until February 15.
Brown played 27 games since debuting in 2020.
North Melbourne update
Wednesday 11 Jan
North Melbourne’s new recruit Darcy Tucker is in a race against the clock for a round one debut at his new club.
Tucker – who crossed from Fremantle during the 2022 AFL Trade Period – underwent surgery in September on his knee (meniscal tear) and is hoping to be ready to go come March.
The 25-year-old has returned to training but is gradually building up his running program in the early weeks of the pre-season.
Griffin Logue was another notable absentee from the main group, as he trained away.
Logue joined Tucker in leaving the Dockers, but has been battling a groin niggle that has lingered from the second half of last year.
Pick four in 2022’s Draft George Wardlaw is also making his way back to full training.
Wardlaw was seen working closely in rehab on Wednesday, according to AFL.com.au, as he is looking to bad his hamstring troubles behind him.
Aidan Corr and Will Phillips are putting in the hard work following various injuries.
Brisbane’s Bailey backs in future at Lions
Wednesday 11 Jan
Brisbane’s Zac Bailey has recently penned a two-year extension at the club, which sees him there until the end of 2026.
The forward-midfielder has been a regular since debuting in 2018 and is looking like spending more time in the centre in 2023.
Bailey (23) – along with some of his younger teammates – will be the driving force for the elusive premiership the Lions can’t seem to grab.
Chris Fagan’s men have made September the past four years, including two preliminary finals and two semi finals, but are hoping to do one better.
It seems the club is primed to make the leap into premiership glory, having snared Josh Dunkley and Jack Gunston over the off-season during the trade period.
They also picked up father-son guns Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher, who have been touted as potential round one starters.
Bailey said he is excited by what’s to come at Brisbane.
“I’ve absolutely loved my first five years at the club and really feel at home here,” Bailey said.
“Personally, I just want to continue to build on what I have done over the last five years. I feel as a player I’ve come a long way, but I also feel as if I’ve still got a lot of improvement left in me.
“From a team perspective, the goal is to hopefully make it to the Grand Final. I think after the way we finished last year; the group is hungrier than ever to achieve success.
“And I think that the squad we have right now is a really exciting one and I’m excited to see what we are able to achieve as a group over the next few years.”
Markov training with Collingwood
Wednesday 11 Jan
Former Gold Coast and Richmond speedster Oleg Markov is trialing his luck at a third AFL club, Collingwood, in a bid to receive a lifeline.
Markov – who was delisted by the Suns at the end of last year – has begun training at the AIA Centre ahead of the February 15th deadline of the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP).
Pies coaches Craig McRae and Justin Leppitsch have both spent time with Markov at the Tigers and would understand what he could add to their line-up.
Despite the club returning on Thursday (Jan 12), players have been down at the grounds in the Melbourne Park precinct getting a jumpstart on the preseason.
Tom Mitchell was conducting sessions with some of the youngsters at the Pies, including Isaac Quaynor, John Noble and Markov.
Taylor Adams, Brayden Maynard and Tom Wilson were also down there.
tom mitchell’s presence at this football club is already paying dividends. has been leading and initiating training sessions all summer. already a leader of the club pic.twitter.com/ATc5D18D4U
— Swoop Luke (@SwoopLuke) January 9, 2023
Hinkley gives updates on key players at Port
Tuesday 10 Jan
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has given some updates on individual players, citing the club is ready to bounce back in 2023 after a disappointing showing last year.
Hinkley said that new recruit Jason Horne-Francis has put his best foot forward since his surgery as has Orazio Fantasia.
“He’s made some really good, steady progress since surgery and he was running just before Christmas and is building up his running now. He’ll probably get back involved in some training and some skill drills by – I would hope – by the end of next week but not too far after that, if not,” Hinkley said on Horne-Francis.
“(Orazio is looking) really promising. So far he’s had a really good build in his pre-season, which we know is really important to him. His first year (with us), he had a really strong pre-season and played well… Orazio, for us as coaches, is almost like another new player for 2023,” Hinkley said on Fantasia.
However, former skipper Ollie Wines is still getting back to his best following some off-season surgery on his knee.
“Ollie’s had some knee surgery in the off-season and it’s been a real careful and slow build for us. We’ve been very mindful of Ollie. He’s such a big trainer but we’ve just got to manage him really well. We’ve done that now and he’ll be back into some skills training within a couple of weeks,” Hinkley said on Wines.
Hill takes out 3km time trial
Tuesday 10 Jan
Brad Hill has taken out St Kilda’s 3km time trial with relative ease, with reports saying new coach Ross Lyon is likely to play him on the wing.
Hill – who played under Lyon at Fremantle – has struggled to cement a consistent role in the Saints side but does his best work on the outside.
The winger was joined by youngsters Matthew Allison and Marcus Windhager as the club gets back to work after their break.
Back to work! 🧳 pic.twitter.com/Tdf7BfV5QK
— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) January 8, 2023
Simpkin wins shuttle run; Youngsters impressing at Arden Street
Tuesday 10 Jan
North Melbourne midfielder Jy Simpkin took out the 1.8km shuttle run, fresh off his second Syd Barker Medal.
Simpkin – who’s starting to enter his prime – has been building his career nicely and capped off a career best season in 2022, averaging 26 touches, five clearances and four tackles.
Jackson Archer, son of Glenn, has also been impressing in the early days of 2023 at the Kangaroos.
Archer just fell short of Simpkin in the shuttle run and has been reported to be in the gym and at the club most days throughout the break.
New recruit Daniel Howe also ran well while Luke McDonald came in fourth.
Bailey Scott rounded out the top five as Jaidyn Stephenson, Harry Sheezel, Kayne Turner, Jack Mahony and Blake Drury finished in the top 10.
“Not only his running, his football skills and his game sense have gone to another level … I’m really looking forward to what he can do this season.”
— North Melbourne FC (@NMFCOfficial) January 9, 2023
New Giant recruit, Bedford, takes out 2km time trial
Tuesday 10 Jan
New GWS recruit Toby Bedford has made his presence felt in the club’s 2km time trial, taking it out in an impressive display.
Bedford – who crossed from Melbourne during the 2022 AFL Trade Period – is looking for more senior opportunities and has yet to put a foot wrong with his new team.
The small forward held on to win, beating Cooper Hamilton, while Josh Kelly, Lachie Ash and Ryan Angwin rounded out the top five.
Bedford said he’s excited for the year and is feeling ‘really good’ about his new home.
“I feel really good, I’m feeling fit, and it was a good way to start the year,” Bedford said.
💬 “I feel really good, I’m feeling fit, and it was a good way to start the year.” pic.twitter.com/Sb2RgOt07Y
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) January 9, 2023
19 Players vying for SSP spot
Monday 9 Jan
The 2023 AFL season is coming quickly and clubs still have spots on their list.
St Kilda has two, while Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Richmond and the Western Bulldogs each have one list spot still available.
The vacancies are to be filled through the AFL’s Supplemental Selection Period (SSP), which ends on February 15.
Recent SSP selection Paddy McCartin proved how effective the pick can be for clubs, with the Sydney defender putting together a personal best season.
Former players Tom Phillips and Liam Stocker lead the pack for players currently training at AFL clubs while those overlooked in the previous draft like Mitch Szybkowski are hoping to live out their dream.
Names of players (and clubs) that could pick them up before end date:
Oscar Steene (Collingwood), Max Guehrer (Collingwood), Tom Phillips (Essendon), Mitch Szybkowski (Essendon), Hudson O’Keefe (Essendon), Brad Lynch (Essendon), Liam Serong (Fremantle), Sam Stubbs (Fremantle), Boyd Woodcock (Gold Coast), Brinn Little (Gold Coast), Brodie McLaughlin (Gold Coast), Brandon Leary (Hawthorn), Trent Burgoyne (Melbourne), Kye Turner (Melbourne), Quinton Narkle (Richmond), Luke Teal (Richmond), Kaelan Bradtke (Richmond), Liam Stocker (St Kilda), Josh Eyre (St Kilda).
Plenty of work for pick one Cadman
Saturday 7 Jan
New GWS recruit and 2022 pick one Aaron Cadman has enjoyed his time at his new AFL club, but admits there is plenty of work for him to do.
The lightly framed full forward spoke on how coming up against “bigger bodies” is something he needs to get used too, especially in the earlier years of his career.
Cadman said he’ll be looking to put on size every chance he gets, in hope that he can hold his own in the AFL competition.
“Coming up against bigger bodies is a bit harder, so I’m just working on my body position and all that sort of stuff,” Cadman said.
“It’s pretty hard when you’re coming up against Sam Taylor. He’s been throwing me down in the dirt.
“I’ve still got to add a bit of meat to these bones.
“It’s pretty hard when you’re sweating it all out on the track, but I’m trying to add as much as I can. Hopefully I can add another three or four (kilos), which would be nice.”
Rachele looking at midfield time in 2023
Saturday 7 Jan
Adelaide youngster Josh Rachele is looking at some midfield time in 2023, after he burst onto the scene as a small forward.
Kicking five goals on debut, Rachele provided a lot of hope for the future, but he managed to play 13 games in his first season, with his form tapering off.
Now with 12 months under his belt, the 19-year-old is understanding what it takes to be a consistent AFL footballer and has identified some things he needs to work on going forward.
“It was more (learning) about that resilience factor and doing the little things right, continuing to do rehab stuff, my hip flex and my groin, little things like that,” Rachele said.
“Next season it’s about building consistency and playing at a high level week in, week out.”
“A big key focus for me coming in was my contested marking, I wanted to take that to another level,.
“I don’t want to be that stock standard small forward that stays on the ground, I think I can play taller for my height.
“I think having that extra string to your bow (playing in the midfield), especially as a forward you can have some games where it’s hard to get the footy.
“So getting thrown in a few centre bounces, I think that will help as well.”
Cunnington impressing following tumultuous 18 months
Tuesday 3 Jan
Ben Cunnington has been putting in the work following a tumultuous 18 months after being diagnosed with two bouts of testicular cancer.
Cunnington’s first diagnosis was in July 2021 and has played two AFL games and one VFL match since.
However, since his return late in the 2022 season, the two-time Syd Barker Medalist says he is raring to go.
“(My) health is going great,” Cunnington said.
“Obviously, I’m getting regular check-ups when they come around, but otherwise it’s probably more the mindset and appreciation and perspective that’s at an all-time high for the game at the minute.
“I’m absolutely loving just kicking the football with the boys, running around, sweating, getting to work and hopefully we can get some wins this year.
“But just to be back out there amongst the boys, it’s been great.”
Cunnington also mentioned a few standouts from the preseason so far.
“I feel a couple of older guys who have had such good years in ‘LMac’ (Luke McDonald) and Jy (Simpkin) are flying. They’ve taken their fitness and training to another level,” Cunnington said.
“But if I was going to go with (just) one I’d go with ‘Arch’ (Jackson Archer).
“He’s absolutely leading the way with our running and not leaving any stone unturned – he’s definitely been impressive.”
Caldwell looking for more consistency
Tuesday 3 Jan
Essendon midfielder Jye Caldwell is looking for more consistency heading into 2023 after finishing off last year strong.
The former Giant has established himself as a strong contributor in the red and black since crossing over at the end of 2020.
The 22-year-old showed just how good he is when he performed a run-with job on Brownlow Medalist Lachie Neale.
Despite injuries limiting him to 34 games in four seasons, Caldwell is keen to continue the strong run that saw him add 20 matches in 2022.
“Obviously I have had a few injuries in the past, but last season I technically played a full season,” Caldwell said.
“I got my shoulder fixed in the off-season which is great as it was bugging me a lot last year.
“Firstly, I just want to build off this season and maintain consistency.
“Some other personal goals would be to play consistent footy wherever I play, improve my running, tackling and just being a better teammate.
“I’m ready to come into 2023 and hopefully cause some havoc.”
Gold Coast youngster charged with drink driving
Sunday 1 Jan
Gold Coast’s Mac Andrew was charged with drink driving on Saturday, 31 December. A club statement is as follows:
“The Gold Coast SUNS are extremely disappointed to advise that Mac Andrew has been charged by Queensland Police in the early hours of Saturday, 31 December 2022 with driving under the influence of alcohol.
After failing a roadside blood alcohol test, Andrew cooperated fully with police, was charged, released and is due to appear in court later next month.”
GM of Football Performance Wayne Campbell expressed his disappointment in the outcome.
“Mac has made a poor decision and understands that he has let a number of people down, as well as the club and the wider Gold Coast community,” Campbell said.
“He understands the severity of his actions and has shown remorse and as a club we will now look to support Mac and help him through the situation.”
Mac will be required to meet with club management and members of the leadership group when he returns to training on the 9th January, where a club imposed sanction will be finalised.
Neither the club nor player will be making any further comment at this time. An update will be provided once a sanction is finalised.”
Serong commits long term
Monday 26 Dec
Caleb Serong has committed to Fremantle long term, signing a new extension as a Christmas gift to Docker fans.
The 2020 Rising Star winner has locked himself in at the club until the end of the 2027 season.
Serong is excited by the direction of the Dockers and what they could achieve in the future.
“I’m just stoked to be a part of the Dockers. I absolutely love where the Club’s heading at the moment and I really want to be a part of it,” Serong said.
“I wasn’t looking to go anywhere, my partner Chloe and I, we were always really keen to go again and we’re really lucky to extend for another four years, which is great.
“We spoke going into the year that we had heard enough about our potential, and we really wanted to perform.
“We made finals for the first time in a few years, so that was really exciting. The next step is to go deeper into finals and we want to win the Club’s first premiership.
“There’s no limit on what we can achieve.”
Fremantle will be keen to go further into the finals in 2023 after falling short against Collingwood in the semis.
The addition of Luke Jackson and Jaeger O’Meara will add more balance to their side, but is offset by the loss of Griffin Logue and Rory Lobb.
Sam Walsh to miss start of 2023
Friday 23 Dec
Carlton’s Sam Walsh faces a delayed start to the 2023 season after undergoing back surgery.
Walsh missed the round 23 clash with Collingwood on the eve of the finals series due to the injury and has been unable to shake the lingering issues well into the pre-season.
The rising star underwent surgery to have a micro-discectomy procedure on his back.
Blues head of football Brad Lloyd spoke on Walsh and when he may return.
“Throughout the last few months our number one priority has been for Sam’s wellbeing in managing this issue, which is why we explored every possible conservative treatment option,” Lloyd said on the club’s website.
“Following this extensive process, it was clear that given all alternative treatments had not progressed his recovery, surgery was the required option to correct the issue.
“Sam is now recovering after undergoing surgery last night and will commence his rehabilitation in the New Year.
“While Sam’s professionalism and resilience is well-known, we will absolutely give Sam all the time he needs to make a full recovery before he returns to the side during the season.
“Due to the long-term nature of this rehabilitation, it isn’t possible to confirm a set date for his return right now. Once the opening month of the season has been completed though, we expect to be able to provide more clarity on his expected return to play.”
Geelong update from Cam Guthrie
Friday 23 Dec
Geelong veteran Cam Guthrie has provided some insight into their pre-season heading to the Christmas break.
Guthrie – who’s an option for the vacant captaincy role – spoke glowingly about the youngsters who have recently joined the club.
“We’ve had a couple of group dinners and it’s great to see the 18 year old’s come in full of enthusiasm as they find their feet,” Guthrie told the club’s website.
“Also Tanner (Bruhn), Ollie (Henry), and Jack (Bowes), to come from different clubs, I feel like I can tell already that they’re the type of people we want around our football club, just the way they go about their business, so it’s exciting times.”
The Cats are fresh off a premiership win, with tipsters thinking they’re in a good spot to go back-to-back.
Melbourne star undergoes surgery pre-Christmas
Thursday 22 Dec
Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver has undergone surgery pre-Christmas as the club broke up for the break.
Oliver had trouble with his thumb during the year and has gotten surgery to rectify the niggling injury.
The 2022 MVP continued playing with the sore thumb but will hope that his put the issue behind him.
The Herald Sun believes that the surgery shouldn’t hinder Oliver’s 2023 preparations when the club returns next year.
Budarick, Weller and Powell on their knee injuries
Thursday 22 Dec
Gold Coast trio Lachie Weller, Connor Budarick and Will Powell have been on the sidelines for some time, after shocking knee injuries that ended their 2022 season early.
All three are attempting to return to the side at some stage in 2023, with the hope the Suns can break the drought and make the finals for the first time in their history.
Weller – who had an ACL reconstruction four months ago – is looking at potentially joining the main group in the new year.
“My latest milestone was changing direction,” Weller said in a club update.
“My next goal is to integrate back into the main group and complete a whole training session.
“I’m not too far away.”
Powell’s gruesome injury saw a butterfly fracture to the fibula which resulted in a dislocation in the ankle, rupturing all the ligaments around six months ago.
However, the defender is eager to join his teammates.
“It’s been tough on the sidelines, watching everyone go to work and be out there,” Powell said.
“Bigger picture, I’ll come back bigger and stronger.
“Latest rehab milestone was joining the skills training and then joining half the running group.
“Next will be joining in on a full training session.”
Budarick’s hard luck continued when he did his second ACL, resulting in surgery four months ago.
“Getting into change of direction and agility (is the latest milestone),” Budarick said.
“Just trying to be as consistent as possible, in the gym and out on the field when I get the chance.
“I know I can get back to my best in no time.”
McDonald-Tipungwuti raring to go
Thursday 22 Dec
Rejuvenated Essendon forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is reportedly “in a far better spot with his training than he was at the same time last year.”
The Herald Sun broke word that McDonald-Tipungwuti is moving well on the training track and will be a welcomed addition to the 2023 side.
The 29-year-old hasn’t played since round 21, 2021 but is working toward making his way back to AFL football.
New coach Brad Scott said that the small forward has been putting in the work and the results are showing.
“The fans should be excited and we’re excited, but I would stress that he hasn’t played footy for 18 months,” Scott said.
“It’s going to take a fair bit of time for him to get back somewhere near his best. We’re hoping he can get there, but it’s going to take some time and whether that’s early in the year next year or it take a bit longer, when you don’t play footy for 18 months you decondition and there’s a lot of work to do.”
Darcy-Jackson combo starting to look scary
Thursday 22 Dec
A Luke Jackson and Sean Darcy combination is starting to look scary, as the pair have undergone a whole preseason together.
Jackson’s wish to return to his home state – Western Australia – came true in the trade period and he left Melbourne for the Dockers.
Darcy has been Fremantle’s number one man ahead of forward/ruck Rory Lobb but may need to relinquish some of the time spent in the midfield.
However, AFL.com.au reported that the duo are pushing each other to new limits as they strive for the number one role under coach Justin Longmuir.
Darcy and Jackson are highly proficient in the ruck position and still have plenty of time to grow and develop given their youth.
The 24-year-old spoke glowingly about his new teammate.
“It’s good fun. Lukey’s a character. He’s an extremely good athlete. He pushes me in training,” Darcy said.
“He’s a really good runner. He covers the ground extremely well. If I’m ball watching a little bit, he’s spreading out wide. It’s really helping me a lot.
“He’s pushed me every day.
“It’s see and feel at the moment. It’s coming along really nicely,” Darcy said.
“We’re finding what he likes and what I like (with) running patterns and things like that together.”
Demon smokey lighting up track
Thursday 22 Dec
Melbourne forward Jacob Van Rooyen is reportedly lighting up the track as the club looks to new avenues to score.
Aside from Bayley Fritsch (55 goals) and Kysaiah Pickett (41), the key forward stocks looked to be struggling throughout the year.
Tom McDonald was missing through injury while Sam Weideman and Ben Brown struggled with form.
Van Rooyen – who stands at 194cm – has impressed in the VFL premiership side throughout 2022 and was very close to debuting for the Demons.
Now that Luke Jackson and Weideman have departed, there appears to be a spot up for grabs although Max Gawn is expected to spend more time up forward due to the acquisition of Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy.
Grimes in good nick, looking forward to opener with Carlton
Thursday 22 Dec
Richmond co-captain Dylan Grimes is raring to go for the 2023 season, after a hamstring injury ended his 2022 campaign early.
Grimes says he is on track for the round one clash with Carlton after tending to his soft tissue issues since round 20.
“I’m absolutely fine. I was cleared of injury about a week after the season finished,” Grimes said.
“So, I’ve just been relishing being back on the park and starting the pre-season uninjured.
“I’m feeling fit and really positive at the moment . . .
“It’s my third bout of ‘hammy’ surgery now, so we’ve got a bit of an idea of what to do.
“Having said that, we’ve got a new fitness coach and a new weights coach as well.
“We’re throwing pretty much the kitchen sink at it, really.
“I’m wanting to leave nothing on the table and no stone unturned in terms of what I can do to make my hamstrings more resilient . . .”
Elliot Yeo on a mission
Thursday 22 Dec
West Coast midfielder Elliot Yeo declares that he is on a mission for 2023 after an injury-riddled 2022.
“Last year was very difficult,” Yeo said.
“I’m hoping to be out there playing every game. I’m feeling confident in my body and going forward now, it’s just putting the work in, getting it all done and going from there.
“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
“I have some unfinished business in the midfield. But I’ll compete anywhere.
“That internal competition is what drives success.”
Yeo has played 27 games in the past three seasons.
Giant draftee set for surgery
Thursday 22 Dec
GWS draftee Max Gruzewski is set for surgery on his knee after dislocating it during training.
Shortly after being picked up with pick 22 in the draft, Gruzewski was attempting to make a splash at his new club but unfortunately found himself injured.
New coach Adam Kingsley is excited by the young prospect – who stands at 193cm – and is hopeful he’ll be ready for AFL football in 2023.
“We see some real scope for him given the limited exposure to high level football, having only really come on to the radar this year,” Kingsley said.
Weideman impressing in new colours
Thursday 22 Dec
New Essendon recruit Sam Weideman has impressed since crossing from Melbourne over the 2022 AFL trade period.
Herald Sun‘s Chris Cavavangh said that Weideman has been one of the standouts under new instruction from Brad Scott, who took over the role from Ben Rutten.
The 25-year-old has played 59 games since debuting in 2016 but has struggled to grab the AFL opportunities with both hands.
However, joining Peter Wright up forward and a young Harrison Jones, Weideman looks ready to start playing consistent football with the Bombers.
“He couldn’t have impressed everyone more – his attitude, his professionalism, his intensity on the track,” new Essendon coach Brad Scott said.
“Sometimes players just need the opportunity. He played some really good footy at Melbourne when he had the opportunity, but he also had some really good players competing for a similar spot. We think we can provide the opportunity, provided Sam holds up his end of the bargain.”
Adelaide defender looking for more consistency
Thursday 22 Dec
Adelaide defender Chayce Jones is looking to add more consistency to his game, after an impressive 20 matches in 2022.
Jones – who is preparing for his fifth AFL season – is keen to add to his game tally, 58, as well as start stringing more impressive performances.
“I just want to keep taking my game to another level,” Jones said.
“There’s been glimpses where I’ve shown I can play but I just want to keep going and play more consistent footy.
“It’s just about coming in with a good pre-season, you set yourself up when you can train fully and that’s when you get the most chance to improve yourself.
“I’m keen to help the team as much as I can, whether that’s in defence, or on the wing or in the midfield, you want to play the best footy you can, which is ultimately going to help the team.”
Jones also spoke glowingly of teammates Izak Rankine and Josh Worrell, who are apparently coming in on leaps and bounds this pre-season.
“Pre-season has been good, it’s another build up to what will hopefully be a good year,” Jones said.
“All the boys came back back fit and ready to go again.
“Izak Rankine has come in with flying colours, and the other one is Josh Worrell.
“He is really taking his game to another level, hitting his kicks and showing his run off halfback, which is what we need.”
Undrafted pair to train with Bombers
Thursday 22 Dec
Undrafted duo Hudson O’Keeffe and Mitch Szybkowski will train with Essendon throughout the preseason in an attempt to find themselves on their list.
The pair join the Bombers camp January nine and are hopeful of a pre-season supplemental selection.
O’Keeffe was a ruckman for Victoria Metro and Oakleigh Chargers, attracting attention for his height, 202cm, and athleticism.
Szybkowski was expected to be selected late in the draft was a dominant midfielder alongside Victoria Country’s Jhye Clark.
Lyon to add more chaos to St Kilda’s game style in 2023
Tuesday 20 Dec
St Kilda’s new coach, Ross Lyon (for the second time round) is keen to add more chaos and unpredictability to their game style in 2023 and beyond.
The Saints were lauded for their boring style that struggled to produce winning scores in the second half of the season, after an impressive 8-3 start.
Lyon’s second stint at St Kilda will attempt to breathe more facets to their game, with different avenues to goal, especially since Max King has gone down with a shoulder injury.
“You need more than one gear, certainly,” Lyon said.
“I think the trend now has been to go forward more quickly. The uncontested and control game is disappearing.
“There’s times you need it – either through injury or time of the game or you’re under pressure, but fundamentally that shape and control and uncontested mark game is (disappearing).
“We like to be a go-forward team, use our run, be a pressure team.
“I’ve never coached perfection; we like a bit of chaos and I think it will suit us, so I’m pretty excited about it.”
Duggan gives Eagle update
Tuesday 20 Dec
West Coast defender Liam Duggan has provided some insight into the club and how they’ve been tracking over the off season.
After a dismal 2022, the Eagles are keen to bounce back and put the year behind them.
Duggan also mentioned a few names that were “flying” ahead of the Christmas break.
“It’s a long list this year, which is great. This is my ninth pre-season now and I don’t think I’ve seen the boys come back with this much energy around their off-season and coming into the start of pre-season,” Duggan said.
“Jai Culley has really stood out. For a big frame he’s moving around the ground really well. Greg Clark, Connor West, Jamie Cripps – an old head – he’s flying.
“And a couple of boys who missed out last year in Tom Cole, Dom Sheed and Oscar Allen, those boys are really humming along.
“I think last year was taken pretty personally by everyone, to be honest.
“It’s given us great enthusiasm to bounce back from where we were last year. We don’t want to hang around down the bottom, so I think that’s the approach the boys have taken through our off-season.”
Port Adelaide update
Monday 19 Dec
Port Adelaide is excited by the off-seasons of two of their small forwards, with Orazio Fantasia and Junior Rioli making inroads into their comebacks next year.
Both were hindered by injury in 2022 but are keen to make an impact in 2023.
Fantasia – who didn’t play in 2022 – said he’s enjoyed the pre-season so far and hopefully it pays dividends.
“Obviously last year was not how I wanted it. Nobody goes into a season not wanting to play a game, especially without having a long-term injury,” Fantasia said.
“It was definitely frustrating but I wouldn’t change it. I learnt a lot as a person. I grew a lot and came back.
“I made a plan with the strength and conditioning guys Stuart Graham and Calvin Philp to make sure that when I came back, I was in good nick and could hit the ground running to get ready for 2023.”
Rioli also spoke glowingly about the Power and how welcoming they’ve been since he crossed over from West Coast.
“This week’s kind of made me feel a lot more comfortable around the boys,” Rioli said.
“Spending a week with them you get to see their personalities more and their mood swings and those kinds of things.
“I’ve been so welcome and it’s been one of the more enjoyable camps I’ve been on.
“Now I’m heading into the new year looking forward to getting back together with the boys and getting into games.”
Key forward Todd Marshall is also keen to keep the momentum going on his 2022 season, where he booted 45 goals.
“I want to be that consistent forward. I don’t want it to be a one-off year,” Marshall said.
“Coming back, I’ve got myself in a good position, I’m really clear on what my role is for the team and how to do that to the best of my ability so going into the season I’m really excited we’ve been able to add a few pieces to the forward line and get a few back in Orazio (Fantasia).
“The match play today was really fun with that forward group.”
Liam Henry looking to anchor down Docker spot
Monday 19 Dec
Fremantle’s Liam Henry has returned to the club bigger and stronger in a hope that he’d get regular games in Justin Longmuir’s side.
Been trialled in the backline and up forward, it seems Henry’s speed and good ball use could be used throughout the middle of the ground.
The departure of winger Blake Acres has opened up a position.
“The aim is to put on a few kilos and get stronger each year,” Henry said.
“So that was definitely my goal, going away and get fitter. Hopefully that’s worked out and I think I put a few kilos on from last year and I’m looking forward for the rest of the pre-season.
“The wing is my main focus at the moment, last year was my first introduction to playing wing in the AFL so I’m just trying to embed the role.”
Power youngsters cop setback; JHF back at training
Saturday 17 Dec
Port Adelaide’s new recruit Jason Horne-Francis is back running again after he had surgery on both legs to decompress the arteries behind the knees in October.
Despite being on light duties to start his preseason, the Power are confident he’ll be ready by round one.
Things you love to see: JHF on the track running post-surgery 👏 pic.twitter.com/iGcetpZU2o
— Port Adelaide FC (@PAFC) December 16, 2022
However, youngsters Mitch Georgiades and Jase Burgoyne have undergone surgery which will interrupt their preparations.
Burgoyne fell awkwardly at training and hurt his right knee. Should be back in January.
Georgiades also had minor surgery to treat the syndesmosis in his left ankle.
Patience the key for Keays
Saturday 17 Dec
Adelaide’s Ben Keays underwent surgery to repair his AC joint and is yet to resume full training.
Speaking to the club, Keays – who experienced arguably his best season in 2022 – said it’s been difficult being on the sidelines thus far.
“It’s been a pretty tough one for me so far, I’ve been in rehab, still on the sidelines, which has been new for me,” Keays said.
“You see all the boys running around and training really well and you just want to be out there.
“I had my AC joint done but I also had some groin stuff for two thirds of the year, which got pretty bad towards the end (of the season).
“I had gone through the years and heard players talk about how tough rehab is and I never really had to experience it but now I’m living it.
“It’s hard, but I’ll just focus on recovery and try to get back.”
Zorko fit and firing ahead of 2023
Saturday 17 Dec
Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko has reportedly been tearing up the track and is priming himself for a big 2023.
Initially struggling with a lingering achilles issue, Zorko said he’s keen to put that behind him and hopefully help take the club to the decider.
“I’ve been working extremely hard on getting my achilles right,” Zorko said.
“It’s been bugging me for the best part of three years. We had an intense program that I had to be strict about and it’s meant I’ve been able to run for the first time in pre-season for a number of years.
“It’s been great for me and I’m hopeful it’ll hold me in good stead for next season.
“It’s certainly driving us (the squeeze to fit in the 22) to be better and ultimately, what will lead to a premiership cup so that’s what we’re striving towards and hopefully we’re in for a good season cause the competition’s hot.”
Hunt refreshed after move West
Wednesday 14 Dec
West Coast new recruit Jayden Hunt is feeling “very comfortable already” since crossing from Melbourne in the 2022 AFL trade period.
Hunt joined the Eagles as a free agent after 114 games for the Demons and believes that the move will be good for his career.
Only 27, the attacking defender is keen to return to what he does best: using his pace and dare to break open the game.
Hunt has enjoyed life as an Eagle thus far and is keen for 2023.
“Absolutely loving it. It’s been two weeks now so I’m settling a bit and getting to know my surrounds, all my teammates and coaches so much better. It’s been a great two weeks,” Hunt said.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how welcoming everyone is. It feels like a family club, so I’ve been welcomed in with open arms. It’s only been a couple of weeks and I feel very comfortable already.
“I saw this as a fresh opportunity, provide plenty of energy for me. West Coast in particular, obviously they were very disappointed this year but I see the list with such a scope for improvement and I’m really excited to be part of that.
“I think everyone is just really optimistic and excited. Most of the list is really healthy now, they came back really fit. The whole place has a positive spin, which is great.”
Jackson, O’Meara impressing in new colours
Wednesday 14 Dec
New recruits Luke Jackson and Jaeger O’Meara hasn’t let the change in location and colours stop them from impressing Fremantle.
Coach Justin Longmuir said the pair haven’t put a foot wrong since crossing over from Melbourne and Hawthorn and is excited to see what they’ll produce in 2023.
“Jaeger couldn’t have been more impressive to be honest,” Longmuir said, according to the club.
“He’s really keen to live the game plan and everything he’s done is done like a pro, whether that’s in the gym, out on the track with running or just his efforts and skill drills.
“He’s made a really good impression on everyone and he fills the need with Dave (Mundy) going out.
“We hope he can string some of his best footy together because it’s going to be a good attribute for us on and off the field.”
“Luke’s probably been the best performer over the last couple of sessions once we started getting into a bit more competitive stuff,” Longmuir said.
“That competitiveness and ability to win the ball at ground level, but also really compete with his pressure, has stood out.
“He’s taken a couple of nice marks at training as well on the end of some good ball movement.
“He’s been really impressive.”
Adelaide’s forward line starting to take shape
Wednesday 14 Dec
Riley Thilthorpe and prized recruit Izak Rankine are reportedly having big preseasons heading into Adelaide’s 2023 campaign.
The former has struggled to remain consistent in his first two seasons but has been a force throughout the summer at the Crows.
“The body’s in a much better place than last year,” said Thilthorpe according to the Herald Sun.
“I was smarter with how I planned the off-season.
“I didn’t work myself into the ground as much and now I’m flying on the track, so I’m really happy with where I’m at.
“Even coming to the track this year, I feel like I’m in a much better headspace physically and mentally to attack training.
“Being more confident, chest out, walking on my toes a bit more, trying to be a bit more of the man, backing myself in, flying at footies, backing my skills in.”
Rankine has also been impressive since crossing from the Gold Coast in training thus far and looks like spending more time through the midfield.
Collingwood update on De Goey, Adams and Moore
Tuesday 13 Dec
AFL.com.au’s Josh Gabelich has provided updates on three key Collingwood players facing interrupted preseasons.
Darcy Moore, Jordan De Goey and Taylor Adams have not had the best preparations heading into the 2023 season but the club is confident all will be raring to go come round one.
Moore was hospitalised with a bone infection (osteomyelitis) and Gabelich said the Pies were glad they caught the issue early.
“They’re really relieved at Collingwood. It’s actually quite a serious situation a bone infection, but they got onto it really quickly,” Gabelich told SEN.
“He spent some time in hospital and he’s back home at the moment. They won’t see him this side of the new year, but they expect him to get back into training after Christmas and after that break in January, but it remains a bit unclear as to when he will make a full recovery.
“No concern around Round 1, but they’re hopeful it’ll be straight after Christmas.”
“Taylor Adams is training away to the side going through running sessions. We haven’t seen him since that really gruesome groin injury against Geelong,” Gabelich said.
“He’s building up and they’re pretty happy with where he’s at.
“Jordan De Goey is the one we touched on. Just a little bit of concern there, so they went and got him fixed up last week with an arthroscope with his shoulder,” Gabelich said.
“That was the same game against Geelong in the final where he hurt his shoulder. They were hopeful a bit of rest in the off-season would have sorted it out, but he needed some shoulder surgery.”
Pat Lipinski and Brayden Maynard are also on track after their shoulder reconstructions.
Young Lion takes out 3km time trial
Monday 12 Dec
Brisbane’s Harry Sharp won the gruelling 3km time trial, pipping aerobic gun Hugh McCluggage and Zac Bailey.
Sharp has managed seven games in the past two seasons across the half back and is putting his best foot forward to join the super impressive team.
New additions Josh Dunkley and Will Ashcroft also dazzled in their first run in Lions colours, coming third and fourth to Eric Hipwood.
Hipwood won group two’s 3km time trial shortly after signing a monster six-year deal.
Wines’ knee worse than first thought
Sunday 11 Dec
Ollie Wines’ post-season surgery has discovered more of an issue than originally thought.
The 2021 Brownlow Medalist struggled in 2022 with a lingering knee issue that is being fixed over the offseason.
“I ended up having to get a little bit more done than they thought going in,” Wines told AFL.com.au.
“There was a bit more going on in terms of the structure of the actual leg bones and my knee joint.
“We thought it was a meniscus problem, and that was there, but there was also some other damage that was causing some discomfort.
“That’s repaired now, but it meant crutches and no walking for six weeks, then walking for six weeks, which was pretty frustrating.
“By the last week (on crutches) I was pretty emotional with it, and fed up. But I was able to get through it, which was the most important part of the rehab process.”
However, Wines is back running and is keen to put the injury behind him and focus on a big 2023.
Moore bad news for the Pies
Friday, 9 Dec
Darcy Moore is another Pie struck down as the club revealed he has been in hospital.
The star defender is battling a bone infection (osteomyelitis) and won’t be training for some time.
GM of Football Graham Wright spoke on Moore:
“Our main priority is Darcy’s health and we will continue to support him as he recovers at home from the infection,” Wright said.
“We are grateful that this was picked up early by medical staff and as such, we are not expecting any long-term issues.”
Young Bomber can’t catch a break
Friday, 9 Dec
Luckless Essendon defender Zach Reid has copped another setback in his bid for AFL footy.
Reid suffered a stress in his lower back and will be on a modified training program for the next few weeks.
GM of Performance Dan McPherson spoke about the 20-year-old.
“Zach has been impressive during the off-season without missing a session since players returned on November 21. He’s been training at a really high level but has shown slight discomfort in recent days. After consulting with the club’s high-performance team today, the club has decided to allow him the time to rest and recover with a modified program,” McPherson said.
“He is a natural talent with elite athleticism and his professionalism will give him the best chance to recover. The club hopes to build him back up when the team returns in January.”
Adam Simpson provides update on Eagles’ injury
Thursday, 8 Dec
West Coast coach Adam Simpson has provided some intel on some of his players’ injuries, according to SEN.
“Oscar Allen, Tom Cole, Dom Sheed, Liam Duggan, Campbell Chesser, all these guys have had a really interrupted 12 months with significant injuries,” Simpson said.
“So how we get those guys back to AFL. It’s not as easy as ‘they’ve had a year off they should be fine’, we need to start overlaying football.
“They’re all really fit and gone away and got right from a fitness point of view. The next step is to overlay the football component which in this day and age is harder than you think.
“They go that hard, they go turbo when they train and trying to get some of these guys that haven’t tackled anyone in 12 months back into the program is our newest challenge.
“You won’t see them at every session, it’s about managing them so come February they’re up and about.”
Suns leaving nothing to chance for King return; Gold Coast update
Thursday, 8 Dec
Gold Coast are leaving nothing to chance in the hope Ben King can return with a bang.
The club is seeking out world-renowned reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles to assist with King’s return after he suffered an ACL injury on the eve of the 2022 season.
Knowles – from the US – has a long list of sporting athletes that he’s worked with including Tiger Woods, Andy Murray and Christian Petracca.
Lachie Weller and Connor Budarick are also on the mend from their ACL injuries from throughout the year.
The club announced Weller is turning heads from his injury and is likely to join the main group before Christmas.
Budarick is expected to commence full training in 2023.
Wednesday, 7 Dec
Richmond’s Dylan Grimes, Ivan Soldo, Jack Graham and Sam Banks have been kept a close eye on by new Physical Performance Manager Luke Meehan.
Grimes (hamstring) – “He’s been really good. He returned on Monday and he’s in great shape. He’s already joining in on skills and we’re looking to have a really healthy Dylan next year, everything’s been positive so far.”
Soldo (wrist surgery) – “He’s going really well. He’s already joining in on non-contact skills and is looking to be really fit and ready to be in full training in January.”
Graham (toe surgery) – “Jack’s a victim of his own toughness. He battled all year with his toe issue and got to the end of the season and we gave it a rest in the hope that it would improve. We found out at the start of November that things weren’t improving and we needed an intervention, and so he had some surgery. That’s gone really well from all reports, he’s already out of the moon boot and he’ll look to start running in January and he’ll have a big January/February looking to build into games at the start of the season.”
Banks (hip surgery) – “He’s going really well, he’s already back into almost full training. There’s no issues there and it’s good to have a fit Sam around the Club.”
Wednesday, 7 Dec
The wounded Western Bulldogs has been referred to the club due to the injuries held by Adam Treloar, Sam Darcy, Toby McLean and Rhylee West.
Treloar underwent surgery on his ankle and will be on limited duties before Christmas.
Darcy is also tending to a knee issue that has prevented him from training the past fortnight, while West (knee) is aiming to be back at full training in the next month.
McLean had surgery on a hand injury he suffered at training and will likely join the main group in 2023.
Andrew Mackie on Tom Hawkins injury
Wednesday, 7 Dec
Geelong’s Tom Hawkins recently underwent surgery on his foot, despite playing through the finals.
As a result, Hawkins will be on a modified training program for majority of the preseason according to list manager and former teammate Andrew Mackie.
“He’s still got the (moon)boot going on at the minute,” Mackie said on SEN.
“He’s really good. He’s looking good, the big fella.
“It’s obviously not ideal having surgery for anyone, but he’s had such a large workload over a number of years.
“With customised training programs, the fact that the can actually take some time off and look after some other bits of his body where rehabbing his foot isn’t the worst thing.
“Hopefully the foot does its thing and heals ok which my understanding is it seems to be ok.”
Tuesday, 6 Dec
Essendon’s Jake Stringer is struggling to get back to full fitness due to a groin complain.
The ‘package’ is and will be on a modified training program until 2023 but is doing ‘okay’ according to GM of Performance Daniel McPherson.
Yeah Jake’s going okay, he finished the season with some groin issues and he’s worked his way through that over the off-season,” McPherson said on SEN.
“What has been impressive about Jake is he was here a lot earlier than he needed to be or required to be. His first official day he was due back was yesterday, but we’ve seen him regularly over the last three or four weeks.
“He’s putting in some work to get himself up to speed, obviously we don’t need him playing in the next three or four weeks, we’re looking at a bit of a longer game for Jake.
“He’s got a bit of work to do but he’s progressing pretty nicely at the moment.”
St Kilda left with a King-sized problem
Tuesday, 6 Dec
St Kilda’s Max King suffered a bad shoulder injury at training on Tuesday and is expected to miss months.
Luckily for the Saints is that King may also miss the first few rounds pending a speedy recovery due to the timing of the injury.
However, new coach Ross Lyon could not afford to lose their star goal kicker and will now need to look at other creative sources for scores.
The 22-year-old has been a key pillar in St Kilda’s forward line and will be sorely missed throughout the preseason and early stages of 2023, explained Football Boss Geoff Walsh.
“Obviously this is an extremely disappointing setback for Max,” Walsh said.
“He had come back for pre-season in really great condition, which is a credit to his professionalism; a trait we know will stand him in good stead as he works through his rehab over the next few months.
“The recovery and rehabilitation period for this injury will be a number of months, which we will provide updates on as he progresses through his rehab program – suffice to say his return to play will not be until the season is well underway.”
De Goey down
Monday, 5 Dec
Collingwood matchwinner Jordan De Goey underwent shoulder surgery that he carried through the 2022 finals series.
Despite displaying little issues with it during September, the Pies thought it’d be wise to nip the injury in the bud early before any ongoing issues come up.
GM of Football Graham Wright expects De Goey to be back and raring in the new year.
“Jordan had been managing that right shoulder towards the end of our campaign and while we have given it every opportunity to settle over the off season, after consulting with a specialist in recent days, it was determined a clean-up is the best course of action for him,” Wright said.
“At this stage, we expect Jordan to be back to full training by January.”
Friday, 2 Dec
Carlton’s Sam Walsh hasn’t had a successful start to his preseason, facing ongoing back issues that has ruled him out since the round 23 loss.
Walsh is being monitored closely by staff but is on a strict management plan that will not include skills training this side of Christmas.
Marc Pittonet is progressing well from his PCL reconstruction 13 weeks ago and is running again, working on his conditioning.
George Hewett’s back surgery is in the past (14 weeks ago) and will aim to join the main group in January as is Lachie Fogarty (back).
Matthew Kennedy (foot) and Corey Durdin (shoulder) have also joined the main group following their injuries.
McPherson faces delayed preseason
Friday, 25 Nov
Adelaide’s Andrew McPherson underwent knee surgery and will face a delayed preseason.
Following a PCL injury in the SANFL, McPherson will be spending time before Christmas tending to his knee in rehab.
The 23-year-old is expected to be up and running within the next four to six weeks.
Coffield nearing full fitness, Hayes not far behind
Thursday, 24 Nov
St Kilda defender Nick Coffield is honing in on full fitness as he recovers from a knee reconstruction that ruled him out of the 2022 season.
The 23-year-old is setting his sights on a big 2023 but knows there is still plenty of work to be done, according to the club.
“I’m almost fully back with the group. I’m doing some drills now, so it is coming along pretty well. I’m not doing contact yet, but it is all on track and on time so far,” Coffield said.
“If all goes to plan, January is when I’ll be back with the group completely. By the time we start match sim, I should be good to go.”
Jack Hayes also suffered the same ACL injury but in round six against GWS and is on the mend as well.
Sloane back on track
Monday, 21 Nov
Adelaide veteran Rory Sloane is slowly but surely recovering from an ACL injury that kept him to four games in 2022.
The Crows returned to training in November and are keen to improve on their 14th placed finish.
Performance manager Darren Burgess said that Sloane will be looked at cautiously pre-Christmas and will try get him right for the start of 2023.
“He’s looking good and probably could’ve done some of the drills, but we’ll take it slowly, especially in the pre-Christmas period,” Burgess said.
“He’s also put on some good size and he’s in a great position right now to tackle most of the pre-season.
“We will certainly be cautious with him… but at this stage, he’s doing everything right to best prepare himself for Round One.”
Thursday, 17 Nov
GWS defender Sam Taylor underwent wrist surgery recently, an injury that he has battled with for some time.
Despite notching up his maiden AA blazer and Giant best-and-fairest in 2022, Taylor is likely to be on a modified training program while his wrist heals.
The 23-year-old is expected to resume full training in the new year.
Lachie Whitfield is also on a similar return timeline to that of Taylor, having tended to an ankle injury.
The 28-year-old had surgery and will be looking to return to his best in 2023.
Brent Daniels and Conor Stone have also been overseas to America to fix their troubling hamstring issues.