The Magpies visit to Kardinia Park on Thursday night provided not only the opportunity for veteran Cats to blow the dust off, but also several young Cats to cut their teeth against AFL opposition.
Cooper Stephens, Ben Jarvis, Blake Schlensog, Brad Close and Jacob Kennerley all tested themselves against AFL opposition for the first time in their careers
Assistant coach Nigel Lappin broke down their efforts after the session wrapped up.
“All of them handled themselves really well, they would have been a little bit nervous, guys that hadn’t played for us before but they acquitted themselves really well and got through the game and we’ll take a lot of confidence out of it,” Lappin says.
“Cooper Stephens he’s just a work horse, he gets from contest to contest and he’ll get a lot of experience out of playing on Collingwood’s genuine, quality mids.
“It was a really good opportunity for him. He’s been playing against some good players during the pre-season but at times Joel and Paddy and Mitch Duncan and those guys haven’t been out at training.
“To get the opportunity to play against the quality that was out there for Collingwood tonight and reassess his game and understand that he can mix it with those guys, he’ll take some confidence out of it.
“To be able to say in the back of his mind that in this situation this is what a couple of the Collingwood mids did to me, I could use that, he’ll take a lot of learnings out of that.”
“Blake Schlensog down back did a really good I thought did a really good job when he had the opportunities.”
“Ben Jarvis, that’s the first time against an (AFL) opposition team that he’s pulled the jumper on even though he’s been here for a year. He played really well.
“It’s funny what a year can do in the system. He’s really matured, not just his body but also in his knowledge about the game.
“He’s spent a lot of the preseason working really closely with Harry Taylor, so Harry’s done a hell of a lot of work from a coaching point of view.
“He’s had to play on Harry one-on-one a lot at training and he’s taken a lot of learnings from that. He was able to apply a lot of them tonight and we were really pleased.
“One of the really impressive things about him is his ball use, he’s a really smart ball-user when he’s got ball in hand, he never wastes the ball so we’re pleased.”
“Jacob Kennerley played a fair bit of midfield time, that’s his first time in the (senior) hoops and he worked his way into the game really nicely.”
“Brad Close was particularly lively up forward, particularly in the first half. He was getting to many contests and breaking into space a lot. He’s a really good runner and I think his pressure was really good as well.”