The Victoria Thunderbolts are looking refreshed and ready for the upcoming 2022 SG Ball season, with the young squad being put to the test under the watchful eye of head coach Wayne Adams.
Experienced coach Adams will be at the helm of the U/19’s SG Ball squad in 2022, while former Melbourne Storm forward Woolnough was appointed head coach of the U/21’s Jersey Flegg squad.
Both squads have been training at the La Trobe Sports Park in the hope to get players from both age divisions in good shape, leading into what is set to be their first uninterrupted season since 2019.
Despite the difficulties Covid has thrown at his young squad, Adams said they were looking in good shape heading into the 2022 SG Ball season.
“With Covid disrupting their season of local footy last year, the last two years the boys haven’t had any consistent and tough footy but they’ve come into training in reasonably good condition from what we thought they were,” Adams said.
“They’re working hard and they’re getting to a point where I think they can compete really hard in the upcoming SG ball comp in 2022.”
Adams believes a strength and conditioning program sent out to players six weeks before training returned has played a big role in ensuring each player came back to the training paddock in decent condition despite the long break.
“A program was sent out 6 weeks before getting together basically outlining what the expectations were and with what they can do to meet standards coming in,” he said.
“They’ve all met the standards so we’re off to a much better start than what we were previously.”
With both the Jersey Flegg and SG Ball squads training together, Adams hopes it will give his younger players a chance to learn and push themselves against some of the bigger and stronger bodies in the 20’s program.
“I think it brings the program together, the U/21 and U/19 teams get to see each other train and we are hoping that through the season they can do some scrimmage stuff together on the training paddock,” the SG Ball coach said.
“It means that our players can challenge the bigger and more experienced players from the other squad and that is part of their learning phase of getting better as players themselves as they push through the program.
“Hopefully that then has a direct pathway of which players might be able to make the step up to the 20s.”
The SG Ball Thunderbolts will kick off their campaign against the Penrith Panthers at BlueBet Stadium on the 5th of February.
Meanwhile, the Jersey Flegg side will take on the Wests Tigers on the 13th of March at Commbank Stadium.