Variety is the spice of life at St Albans Football Club under new coach Perry Meka.
Meka has been in charge of the Saints for just over a month and no two days have been the same.
The pre-Christmas training program has been shaken up, with beach visits, boxing sessions and ball work to go with new layers to the game-plan Meka wants players to have memorised by round one.
There have been a number of early Christmas presents for supporters.
Adem Yze, a current senior assistant coach at Hawthorn, will be a playing assistant at St Albans when there is no conflict with the AFL club’s schedule.
As well, St Albans has signed a number of Northern Blues players, including former AFL player Josh Hill.
With a large turnover of players, Meka was not keen on running his new team into the ground before the new year.
“We’ve gone from beach to ball work to boxing and it’s been fantastic,” Meka said.
“It’s more about the boys getting to know each other, getting to know the game plans and getting to know me and the rest of the coaches. We’ll ramp it up in January and February and go from there.”
Meka, who played more than 500 games and kicked more than 2000 goals in his country football playing career, has 20 years of experience in coaching, mainly in the bush.
For the past two years, he was a development coach at the Northern Blues in the VFL and prior to that he was coach and football operations manager with Labrador in the QAFL.
The 53-year-old wants to use his experience to take St Albans to the next level in terms of professionalism, but is mindful that not everything can translate from state league football to local footy and that his players have nine-to-five jobs.
“I’ve been involved with the Northern Blues and Carlton the past couple of years and if I can bring some of that type of professionalism to
St Albans and the competition, yeah that’s what we’re trying to do,” Meka said.
“You can’t put everything that an AFL club does into St Albans,” he said.
“If you divide by two and halve it, you’re still ahead of what most people do though.”
Yze, who played 271 games for Melbourne in the AFL, will be available for St Albans on his days off as Hawthorn’s assistant coach, which shows his passion for the game.
“I’ve been hounding him for the last four weeks and he finally came good,” said Meka of his cousin.
“He took a bit of training last night and was unbelievable. His knowledge is going to be invaluable.”