THE Carlton Reserves had a bye last round and are preparing to take on the Box Hill Hawks this Sunday at IKON Park.
Daniel O’Keefe has reflected on the first four games his side have played, which included two wins and two losses, where the Reserves have fielded a variation of 14 different AFL-listed players.
O’Keefe was pleased with the progress of the developing AFL-listed players, in particular Josh Honey and Lochie O’Brien.
‘[Josh is] becoming really reliable and his ability to play to his strengths is quite scary, because they’re real weapons,” O’Keefe said.
“Lochie O’Brien is bringing his strengths every week as well with his running ability. That’s something he prides himself on and he delivers every week.”
With a strong VFL list to balance out the team, a number of players have decided to nominate for the AFL mid-season draft.
O’Keefe is pleased that his players feel confident enough to try out for the AFL system, with many players performing consistently at the VFL level.
“Toby Wooller, we’ve thrown him around in a number of different positions, he’s one that certainly looks really comfortable at VFL level and could take the next step,” he said.
“With Ben Crocker, it's not just his goal-kicking prowess: it’s his ability to bring others into the game, he’s got really high assists as well.”
After four rounds of senior coaching at the VFL level, O’Keefe is comfortable with his position and has relished the new challenges that have been thrown his way, particularly the balancing act of AFL and VFL-listed players.
“I guess something that has been new for me is managing players on managed time,” he said.
“That’s something I’ve never had to deal with in the past as much, but it’s part of the challenge and also the opportunity that a coach like me has at this level.
“We’re trying to get AFL-listed players ready to play AFL and knock down the senior-selection door as well, which is a really healthy thing to have.”