‘You never know when an opportunity comes’: The Replacements stepping up for injury-ravaged Pies

The captain of the seconds is considered to be the worst position in a cricket team since nobody likes to work there.

Josh Fraser of Collingwood would scoff at the notion that a VFL coach would experience the same thing. Making sure the Magpies have as many players ready for the AFL available on any given weekend is his responsibility.

Ed Allan has had to be patient.

He has, however, been incredibly active this year with his magnets. 34 players have changed teams for Collingwood in the first half of the season. That is comparable to other competitors. The fact that two of the five were club debutants and five were debutants is inconsistent for the current premier. The Magpies have had to go deep due to a spate of ailments.

An opportunity might come at any time, and sometimes it does so sooner rather than later, according to Fraser.

Although some of them were prepared for opportunities earlier, their participation in the VFL has been necessary due to the list’s overall health. Seeing them succeed at the AFL level and maintain a strong position inside our system is encouraging.

Ash Johnson in action against the Bulldogs.

Actually, being inexperienced is a bit of a pinch. Collingwood wilted two weeks ago, handing Fremantle two premiership points.They had a strong start, but the Bulldogs overwhelmed them last week.Now, on King’s Day, they take on a Melbourne squad that has been doubly agitated by a humiliating loss to Fremantle in Alice Springs last week and a close loss to Collingwood in a qualifying final last year.

Craig McRae, the senior coach, should handle that. Fraser essentially manages guys in his work. For example, he must contend with the mysterious Ash Johnson, who struggled during his last-minute emergency return to the AFL forward line last week. This is not surprising, considering he was a defensive back for the VFL squad just a few weeks prior.

Fraser stated, “Going back and viewing the game from a different perspective was a great circuit breaker for Ash.” “We have witnessed him play excellent AFL football. When you return to the VFL, the game may have changed significantly for a variety of reasons. That competition and effort is what you’re after. For Ash, it was a novel task, and I believe it was beneficial to him.

Fraser, who describes himself as a cooperative coach, is responsible for overseeing Fin Macrae, who was expected to secure a permanent AFL berth during the preseason but hasn’t done so yet.

Wil Parker.

He needs to exercise caution.The guys further down the selection order, two from supplemental lists, and Category B rookie Wil Parker all sneaked in for senior games before the Magpies’ first-round pick in 2022, Ed Allan, had to wait and watch. Parker was a cricketer when Allan was drafted.

Fraser stated that having sincere and frequent talks was essential. “Everyone has a unique journey,” he remarked. “It doesn’t always follow that players who get opportunities before others are more prepared. They may not always be ready (like during an injury crisis), but they can have a taste, return to VFL, use what they’ve learned, and improve as a result.

“We want to make sure they’re ready for AFL football when the time comes.” Every person is different in where they are in their personal development. Our coaching staff’s strength is how we handle each player on an individual basis.

According to Fraser, a player’s promotion was not only based on their VFL success. It was important to train. Attitude also played a part. McRae is well aware of this because he established himself as a development coach.

Sometimes, a footballer simply has to wait. Fraser says Harvey Harrison, taken at No.52 in the 2021 draft, was one. “I felt Harvey’s been ready for a little while,” he said. “But because our high forwards have been so strong, he’s had to bide his time for a little bit.”

Fraser said Harrison grasped quicker than some others the work ethic needed to survive in AFL footy, and now would benefit from it.

Harry DeMattia.

Harry DeMattia and Tew Jiath, the Magpies’ first two draft selections from the previous year, are still in reserve. Fraser stated, “They’re two guys who will have bright futures at the club, but their journeys will be different from Lachie Sullivan’s, Joey Richards’, and Harry Harrison’s.”

Watch this space for more Collingwood media department social media footage showing the moment when a different player finds out about his initial pick. These days, they occur nearly every week.

At the opposite end of the list is work that is less attractive for the VFL coach. Supp players from the suburbs and the bush fill the openings in the VFL team as players are selected or kept in reserve for the senior team.

The VFL squad, which played at Casey Fields on Sunday, and the junior clubs, which largely played on Saturday and supply top-up players, are in doubt going forward since the AFL Magpies, who play on Monday of this long weekend, were chosen as the last team. Even though it’s routine football club business, it’s nevertheless a headache.

Fraser stated, “We don’t want to push football clubs around. We want to win and put the best team out there.” You ought to show them respect. It could be difficult.

Johnson and Parker were dropped from the Pies squad that fell to the Bulldogs by a score of three goals on Monday’s King’s Birthday blockbuster. Meanwhile, the Demons were represented by Jacob van Rooyen, Jack Billings, Bailey Laurie, and Blake Howes in lieu of Lachie Hunter (calf) and the trio of Adam Tomlinson, Taj Woewodin, and Shane McAdam, who were all dropped.


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