VFL Cats in good hands – O’Bree

Updated: November 23, 2015
New Geelong VFL coach Shane O'Bree speaks to the squad at training in December. Picture: AL PACKER
New Geelong VFL coach Shane O'Bree speaks to the squad at training last night. Picture: AL PACKER

New Geelong VFL coach Shane O’Bree speaks to the squad at training last night. Picture: AL PACKER

SURROUNDING himself with some of the best local footy brains was one of the key priorities identified by new Geelong VFL coach Shane O’Bree.

The VFL Cats have commenced pre-season training with O’Bree excited about the challenge of taking on the job having been part of the AFL coaching panel for the past three seasons.

The former Brisbane and Collingwood on-baller will be supported by Mark Hovey, Daniel Lowther, Glen Wallace and Brent Grgic in 2016 – all bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and success from the Bellarine, Geelong and District and Geelong Football Leagues.

Grgic, a former Geelong and Melbourne player, and Wallace, who led the GFL interleague team for the past four years, have come on board the VFL Cats and O’Bree is delighted to be able to tap into their wisdom.

“Dan and Hoves (Hovey) were no brainers (as appointments),” O’Bree told K-ROCK Footballcom.au while overseeing pre-season training at Geelong College Prep School

“They’ve been in the system for a long time and we know how well they’ve coached and the connections they have with the boys.

“For Grg (Grgic) and Glen, we got guys recommend them and, after picking their brains, both are outstanding people and their footy credentials are proven with their premierships as players and coaches.

“They way they teach and their philosophies on football match up with the Geelong way.”

O’Bree said he also has the luxury of calling on Geelong’s past two VFL coaches in Paul Hood and Matthew Knights and VFL manager and 2012 premiership captain Troy Selwood as sounding boards over the summer and into 2016.

Geelong has missed the VFL finals the past two seasons and the Cats have invited over 50 players to train with their squad over the summer.

O’Bree said finding the right balance between nurturing the club’s up-and-coming AFL talent and reinforcing the message of coach Chris Scott mixed with its VFL-listed players was crucial.

“With the VFL boys, they’ve got full-time jobs and we only get them two nights a week,” O’Bree said.

“So we’re trying to squeeze as much info into them as possible. We’ve got to be careful we’re not overloading them and that’s what the pre-season is all about – making sure the stepping stones are in place and stripping it right back to basics and building from there.

“I’ve got to be over what ‘Scotty’ (AFL coach Chris Scott) and the assistants want to do with the senior team and filtering that down and teach exactly what the AFL guys are doing.”

But O’Bree said his aim is to lift the Cats back into the top eight in 2016.

“We’re trying to get these (VFL) guys to feel as if it’s their own club and create their own culture.

“We’re lucky to have players that have had a taste of the VFL system; they know what it’s like to play in VFL and how important it is to create their own culture and club.

“Their work ethic so far has been really good.”

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