Glimpse of AFL for Kedron

Brisbane Lions assistant, Gary O’Donnell visited Kedron for training last week.

Brisbane Lions assistant coach, Gary O’Donnell, paid a visit to the Kedron Lions last week.

O’Donnell took some drills as part of the Division Two side’s Thursday training, imparting some of his knowledge on the group.

Both clubs have a close association with the Army’s seventh brigade, based at Enoggera barracks, with Kedron’s playing coach James Debono one of the soldiers in that brigade and the Lions having completed some pre-season training with the brigade at Enoggera.

Debono said it was a great opportunity for his side to train under an AFL coach.

“They were very excited to have someone of Gary’s calibre to pass on his knowledge of the game,” he said.

Debono said the side would really focus on some of the little things from the session.

“It was just about really not rushing a kick, like instead of just blazing away really weighing up which option is the right one,” he said.

“And as well, the person without footy giving directional talk to make that right option.”

O’Donnell’s enthusiasm for the game rubbed off on the players during the session, Debono said.

“It was the time he’d ever been to Kedron and he was excited to give a new bunch of people to pass knowledge to,” he said.

“I think the boys really fed off his enthusiasm.”

The former Essendon captain said it was nice to be able to get out of the intense AFL environment and coach a community side, even if only for a night.

“It’s a little bit of an outlet, not quite as serious as the AFL pressure cooker environment we’re exposed to all the time,” he said.

“Community footy – that is the lifeblood of our game.”

“I was impressed by their voice and general vibe and enthusiasm.”

O’Donnell said that while there was obviously different expectations and abilities between AFL and community footy, success starts with the basics.

“Footy’s all about the teams and the players that perform the basic fundamentals…they’re generally the better players, “he said.

“You get teams that can work together as a group with that in mind, they are the better teams as well and they generally have success.”

O’Donnell said gelling as a team was a key part of any footy club.

“These guys have a lot of stresses, pressure in their lives and footy’s a bit of an outlet,” he said.

“Footy’s not the most important thing to them, but certainly if every time they come here you try and engender a spirit of teamwork… you can have a little bit of success.

And talent is only the beginning of creating that team success, O’Donnell said.

“It’s about getting the right type of people , the right type of characters into your club as well,” he said.

“It’s not necessarily the best players but players of good character and generally good competitors.

“They’re like the cement that holds together the bricks of your footy team and that’s important as well.”

After the session, O’Donnell said he hoped that each player had taken at least one lesson away.

“If you have anybody that comes to speak to you in sport or your work, if you can take one thing from that person turning up, then it’s been a success,” he said.

“If each bloke’s done that then it’s been worthwhile coming here.”

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