‘Depth of capability as opposed to depth of star power.’
That’s what Frankston coach Danny Ryan is building at the Dolphins. He believes acquiring hard working role players to compliment their top end talent is a mechanism that can lead Frankston to sustained improvement.
‘I coach a system that’s reliant on all 23 playing their role, whether their role is big, small or medium it doesn’t matter.’
‘They’ve got to work as a combined unit, so teaching our players multiple roles is a really important feature of the football program here at the Dolphins. If we lose a cog, we replace them with the next cog.
‘We need 35+ VFL capable players and that is certainly a challenge as we grow our list each year,’ Ryan stated.
Going forward, the coach hopes his squad can replicate last season’s strong sense of mateship, a feature of his coaching and key ingredient towards building a better club.
‘We want to recruit good people first & foremost – good people make good Dolphins!’
‘We’re massive about establishing care and connection so building relationships and a strong rapport with each other is really important.’
‘Getting to training, team camps and (playing little games) really helps strengthen that.’
Frankston will venture to HMAS Cerberus for a two-night camp in February, one of two camps this pre-season where closeness and connection will come to a fore.
‘Dolphins will meet Dolphins, put it that way,’ Ryan exclaimed of it, referring to the physical and mental strain where strength of character and resilience will be tested.
Pre-season begun on the 18th November for the full list, however a sprinkling of re-signed senior players, including reigning Best and Fairest Will Fordham, joined a large squad of NAB League graduates and local players, have trained for the past 2 weeks, to try and win a spot on Frankston’s list.
Ryan expects his players to have return freshened up, with a burning desire for improvement ready to make inroads throughout 2020.
‘We’ll continue to work on our ability to move the ball while also having a bit more of an emphasis on structure and our defensive mechanisms,’ Ryan quipped.
The Dolphins need to improve their defence is highlighted by their dismal percentage of 57% throughout last year compared to a league average 103%, while also conceding an average of 97 points a game.
Their progress, however was marked by an increase in percentage to almost 70 in the last six games of the season alone, a time where injuries gave opportunities to younger players and great internal growth was recorded.
‘Liam Hiscock and Dylan Gordon played their first full year of VFL footy so now they’ve played another 18 games and are more experienced so we expect even more improvement from them.’
In attack, the Dolphins will look to score more often than they have this year where they only recorded above 100 once – in their win over North Melbourne.
Currently scoring once per 2.29 inside 50s, with their goal kicking accuracy at 46%, Ryan has earmarked capitalising on inside 50s as an area fans should see marked progress next year. The addition of Jay Schulz working with front half players as a senior assistant has Ryan visibly excited.
The task will be made harder though, by the loss of sharpshooter Corey Rich, but the coach’s systematic mantra sees him move on quickly from the losses.
‘Your team is never the same from year to year, so our ability to blend new players into existing players and get them up to speed quickly… is crucially important,’
Other departures include inside midfielder Goy Lok and ruckman Mitch McCarthy, while popular clubmen Blake Mullane and Alex Harnett, who have opted to play local football.
Pleasingly though, they’ve retained captain Josh Newman, and former AFL listers Fordham and Nathan Freeman while also welcoming Adrian Lloyd as CEO, on-baller Bailey Lambert, Schulz as a Senior Assistant and Lachy Oakley as a Line Coach.
Article by Jonty Ralphsmith / Photo’s by Diggle Photography
Dolphins Digital Media Team