ALL HANDS on deck.
It was the choice of each AFL club when it came to how many players they would bring up to their respective hubs.
As Carlton left Royal Parade for the Gold Coast, every player was on board the Virgin Australia flight.
Development coach Daniel O’Keefe said the positives of having the entire playing group together meant it was an opportunity they didn’t want to pass up.
“‘Teaguey’ and Brad Lloyd were really keen to bring the whole playing list,” O’Keefe told The Warrnambool Standard’s Main Break.
“Bonding with a young group is essential. We went on a camp to the Sunshine Coast earlier this year and that goes for six days: that’s a great bonding opportunity.
“To consider that and times it by five, it’s an amazing opportunity for us all. Our reserves players are bringing so much energy to the group as well.”
“Brekky was a bit awkward this morning when we saw the Doggies — it’ll probably be more awkward come next Monday after the game.”— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) July 8, 2020
Opponents on Sunday, neighbours all week. ??#OwnTheFuture
In his first season at Ikon Park, O’Keefe has assumed control as coach in the reserves practice matches over the past month.
O’Keefe said his role at the hub hinged on whether or not the development group would be heading up, with the call made on Friday.
“That determined whether I was going or not, whether the whole playing list went,” he said.
“If they all didn’t go, I’d have stayed back and looked after [the development group] and train them the whole time.
“The glue between the group, the tighter that is — I think that brings on-field success. It’s a great opportunity to develop as well.”
Such is the landscape of the football world at the moment, O’Keefe said the Club still isn’t certain whether a reserves game would go ahead this weekend.
“Because of the rules and isolation and quarantine, we don’t know if we’ve got a game yet,” he said.
“Every week, it has changed dramatically. We played 14-on-14 against Melbourne, the next week we got up to 16-on-16 against Geelong and then we went and played Essendon, which was 12-against-12 on a ground where we reduced the wings.
“That’s completely fine, it’s what we signed up for. The players ave accepted the challenge.”