Up to speed
THE clock has just ticked over to 5.45pm and already Col Speed is busy, meticulously placing witches' hats at the southern end of Frank McGuren Field.
You see, it's Tuesday night and the Ghosts are preparing for their clash with the Cudgen Hornets on Saturday. A big game for Speed and his all-conquering Ghosts side.
Players make their way to the half-way line where Speed, with whistle in hand, addresses the players.
Yeah, there's a bit of light banter between the players and serial pest Daniel Lollback is giving a gobful of cheek to a teammate. But when Speed talks, the players listen. And with good reason.
You have to go back to the semi-final against Northern United in 2009 when they were on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
Local talent, sprinkled with a dash of “Pommy flavouring”, has enabled the Ghosts to dominate the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition in recent times.
But there is one, more important, factor as to why the Ghosts are the benchmark team of the competition.
It's the guy who spends countless hours working out ways his side can keep its winning record intact.
You watch Speed put the players through their paces and you can't help think, geez, this guy knows his stuff.
“Jam in early ... don't get lazy ... that's it ... good,” Speed shouts, demonstrating his passion and knowledge of the game.
McGuren Field has become Speed's second home. So how does the man responsible for turning the Ghosts into a crack unit spend his week?
Speed was kind enough to give an in-depth insight into a typical week as the Ghosts first grade coach.
Just had a 10-all draw with Evans Head. A couple of unsavoury incidents to look at. Players warm down, then required to weigh themselves, followed by some nutrition.
Ice-bath routine. We are lucky enough to have a portable ice bath, which was designed by Elliott Donohue.
No review of game.
Spend hours reviewing DVD regarding any incidents. This week looked at the Ben McLennan incident.
Don't believe in doing stats during game, only completion rates. Again look at DVD of game and enter data on to Ghosts website. Such things as tackles, missed tackles, hit-ups and off-loads.
Analyse what we need to improve on and work on player feedback, what they need to improve on individually. Work out our structures and training drills for Tuesday and Thursday nights. Access weekend game.
Team talk and review game. Use whiteboard and players to take “ownership” of what they need to work on. All three teams come together and we work on “game-sense drills”.
This week we worked on cover defending reaction drills or whatever I feel we need to focus on.
We then split up into two groups (backs and forwards). The backs go with Terry West, who introduces agility and speed drills and the forwards work on defensive structures and plays.
We then rotate both groups before teams separate and work on goals for upcoming game against Cudgen.
Team meeting before training. Players have a folder each and they write down how they think they went in the previous game and rate themselves out of a score of 10.
What they need to improve on. I take the folders and give them a rating out of 10.
We then work on team plays and contact sessions with the under-18 and reserve grade.
Saturday – game day
Team meeting at the squash courts. We go over team and individual goals and work on our right, left and middle edges.
Pre-game warm-up with “game-sense drills”.
Ready and focused to run out against Cudgen by kick-off.