Contributed by: Brett Northey Monday, January 23 2006 @ 10:37 am ACDT
Japanese players Michito Sakaki and Tsuyoshi Kase will be keenly waiting to see if they get a run in trial games with the Bendigo Bombers in the Victorian Football League. Currently training with AFL club Essendon, the pair will need to impress Bendigo's coach, Matthew Knights, a former champion of the Richmond Football Club. The Bombers have a relationship with Bendigo that sees them use the VFL club to play their AFL players not selected in any given round.
In a recent article[*1] in the Bendigo Advertiser, Knights spoke about the players' chances in very down to earth practical footy coach terms. He commended Sakaki and Kase on their committment and skills, but noted that the real crunch will come under match conditions, an intensity that international players are unlikely to face week-in week-out whereas Australian players see it every season.
Knights - "Their work ethic is outstanding, their acceleration with the ball and ground skills are competent, and both of their kicking is decent. They have probably done eight weeks of solid work now in the pre-season, but from the point of view of them playing during the season, that was always going to be negotiated along the way."
Knights said he may look at playing the pair in an intra-club practice match, probably late next month.