FOOTBALL training is far from finished in the North Ballarat Rebels camp.
The Rebels have been stepping up preparations leading into this week’s AFL Combine under a fitness program, in partnership with Federation University, regarded as benchmark across the TAC Cup.
Partington said the Combine increasingly drew more public interest and social media hype each year, particularly since a move to Etihad Stadium in 2011.
The Rebels have prepared six candidates for screenings: Oscar McDonald (Edenhope-Apsley/North Ballarat City), Dan Butler (Lake Wendouree) and Rowan Marshall for the four-day national combine that starts tomorrow; and, Sam Bennett (North Ballarat City), Tom Templeton (Portland) and Jesse Palmer for Saturday’s state testing.
Players moved into fitness and skill-specific training from the moment the Rebels bowed out of the TAC Cup under-18 finals series three weeks ago.
The Rebels also ensure each is well-versed in what they might expect in club interviews and psychological testing, while importantly remaining true to themselves.
Partington said no stone had been left unturned.
“At the end of the day, the boys are going for a job interview – the first part has been based on their performance this year so that clubs want to take a closer look at them physically and in what makes them tick mentally,” Partington said.
“You have to be a very determined, special character to survive the AFL world. You need to handle diversity and be very competitive.”
Federation University Faculty of Health associated professor Warren Young has two objectives in his fitness program for candidates – to improve technique across sprints, running vertical jump and agility and to improve overall fitness.
“Players get sore through the season from body contact but once that is gone they are fit guys who are used to doing something everyday,” Dr Young said.
“We just try to reinforce technique and in turn, that works on their fitness.”
• If you love the Rebels, don’t miss an insight into their combine preparations coming up this week in From The Press Box, the weekly online sports video at thecourier.com.au