Former St Kilda star Luke Ball says that he sees plenty of similarities between the current Bombers group and that of the Saints in the early to mid 2000s.
The new Essendon player performance manager joined the Bombers administration over summer and will help drive the club’s leadership programs, says he is excited about the level of talent emerging at Tullamarine and that it reminds him of the early days of his own career at St Kilda.
“Observing the young group at Essendon at the moment, there are some similarities to the big group of young players with (Nick) Riewoldt and (Brendon) Goddard and (Nick) Dal Santo and a handful of others started together at St Kilda,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“There’s been a bit of a changing of the guard with a lot of experience walking out the door last year in Jobe (Watson), (Brent) Stanton, (Heath) Hocking, (Ben) Howlett and one or two others.
“A lot of those players – Jobe in particular – are irreplaceable, but what it does is open the door (for others to step up).
“Dyson (Heppell) himself is a young leader as we know, but (Zach) Merrett and (Joe) Daniher and (Orazio) Fantasia and these sorts of guys to really say, ‘this is our club now, this is our time at this club so let’s shape it how we want.’”
The former St Kilda and Collingwood star said that a wrist injury suffered by All-Australian defender Michael Hurley in Saturday morning’s intra-club hitout doesn’t appear to be serious at this stage.
The 27-year-old was kicked on the wrist in the second quarter of the match at Tullamarine.
“The last I’ve heard he’s pretty confident that it’s settled down pretty well,” Ball said.
“Let’s hope so because he needs good luck and he’s pretty important to the team.”
Meanwhile, Ball, who has spent time working at AFLHQ and having input in the match review panel, football operations and umpiring departments, says that he’s not “100 percent sure” where he sees himself in the future but is leaning towards an administration role, rather than heading into coaching.
“If I had to say now, it would hopefully be down that route (football administration), rather than the coaching,” he said.
“I’ve done a little bit of coaching at junior level at my old school (Xavier College) and it is quite infectious – that’s clearly not an example of the work that it takes at senior level – but I haven’t altogether ruled that out
“But at the moment I’m more interested in the footy admin side of things.”
Listen to Luke Ball chat with the boys on SEN Breakfast below!