It’s a quiet Wednesday afternoon after the Cats main session and most of the players have filtered off the track in dribs and drabs.
Two players remain in the forward pocket, Gary Ablett and young Cat Nathan Kreuger, not far from the Ablett Terrace.
Ablett animatedly gestures at a Sherrin, guiding the uncapped Kreuger through the finer points of goalkicking.
“We were just working on some snaps, I was just giving him a few pointers, it’s a part of his game that he really wants to improve,” Ablett says.
Asking Ablett about the information that he passed on, it immediate becomes clear just how lucky Kreuger is to be learning from the Little Master.
A torrent of information spews forth.
“We talked about if you were snapping from 20, 30 or 40 metres what are the differences. The further out you are the more in the middle of the ball you’ve got to kick it," he says.
“We were just talking about making sure he’s balancing himself. That’s really important when it comes to a snap kick or even a field kick.
“Also helping him to drop the ball right, guide the ball down to the right part of his foot and kick the right part of the ball as well.
“There’s a few little pointers like that and he actually did quite well so maybe that’s the last time I’ll have to work with him.”
Kreuger is well aware just how fortunate he is.
“I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my close snaps,” he says.
“Having Gary at the footy club is just amazing, he’s got so many tips and tricks because he’s played the game for such a long time.
“I just thought I’d go up to him and use him as a mentor for these types of things because he’s just got so much knowledge.”
It’s not the first time he’s utilised the resource that is the Little Master.
“He’s the sort of bloke that if he sees something on the track that he thinks you can improve on, he’ll tell you," Kreuger says.
“He’ll stand with you one-on-one and go through it until either you get it right or until you understand, so he’s a great avenue for all the boys in the group.
“It’s great for all the younger boys, first year, second year and third year. I bet even guys still in their sixth and seventh still look to him for advice and tips.”
After 347 games at the top level, Ablett is happy to share what he’s learned.
“I guess I’m in that position now where I’ve been in the system for a long time and I’m able to pass on some of my knowledge and fast-track their development as quickly as possible,” he says.
“Over the 19 years I’ve been in the system I think the game’s getting harder every year, becoming more time consuming and you need to put more time into perfecting your craft.
“I don’t think I would have said too much to a 17-year-old Gary, I would have just said enjoy it, spend as much time around the club as you can and find a couple of guys who you really respect and just observe and watch.”
With his snap kicking issues rectified after a one-on-one with one of the greatest to ever do it, Kreuger is hoping to earn his first game in the hoops in 2020.
The dynamic young forward, who landed on the Cats list as a 19-year-old at the end of 2018 in a trade with Carlton and turned heads in the VFL last year, suffered a delayed start to 2020 after injuring his meniscus.
“Personally I’m stoked to be back out training and hitting the bodies and kicking goals and that type of stuff, he says.
“I’m definitely hoping for a berth this year if I can string a few games together with the praccy matches and training, but yeah I’m definitely trying to push for my selection.”