READY TO RETURN: Despite being confined to quarters in Mildura, Carlton Football Club youngster Lochie O’Brien is staying in tip-top shape in readiness for when AFL action comes back.
By PAUL MENSCH
FOR the last two seasons, Sunraysia’s own Lochie O’Brien has been ripping up and down the wing for the Carlton Football Club.Today, like everyone else, he’s in lockdown, and working hard to stay fit and ready to go when the AFL season finally resumes.The Mildura Weekly caught up with Lochie at his parent’s place, where he has quarantined himself, and is completing the training regime the Blues have set out.
The 20-year-old has been back in Mildura since the Sunday after round one – basically, once the AFL postponed the season, all the players dispersed to take up isolation.“After playing Richmond, we came in on the Sunday as we always do for our reviews, and by then we knew the season would be put on hold,” Lochie said.“We talked about what would happen going forward, and we got told not to expect to come back until June or July. Luckily, we look like getting back soon and so the wait hasn’t been too long.”
Lochie grew up in Mildura playing football for South Mildura and moved to Geelong Grammar when he was 15, and in Year 10. He played for the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup as well as Geelong Grammar, and was finally drafted to Carlton.“I only said to Mum the other day that this is the longest period I’ve been back in Mildura for the last five years,” Lochie said.
Now in his third year at Carlton, the wingman played 18 games in his first season, and 17 games last year. While he’s been mostly injury free during this time, he has had back issues which have interrupted his pre-season training in past years, although he is fit and healthy at the moment.
“It’s now been six weeks, I’m in regular contact with the club, we have meetings twice a week, and we try to speak to the players and coaches as much as we can, just to keep in contact,” Lochie said.
“Obviously it’s difficult going over things like structures and things like that, it’s more about the well-being side of things, making sure everyone is going well, and getting our training sessions done.
“For us it hasn’t been too much of a change, we still train five days a week, which has been a little hard, but at the same time we are lucky to be in a job, and when the season comes back, the better you work now – the better you will go then.”
Lochie said final decisions on how the season will go ahead will be made today, and then the players will be told how things will be moving forward.
“It looks like playing in hubs will get the go ahead, but how that looks exactly, remains to be seen,” he said.
“If we are playing in hubs, with games every four to five days to make up time, I believe this will help me, being a lighter frame and a runner. I should be able to back up a little better than the bigger boys.
“I was into athletics as a kid and finished third in the country for the 400m, as well as winning the State cross country title, so I really enjoy the running side of the game.
“As part of my training schedule, I am running four days a week and lifting weights three days. The club organised the weight equipment for me, which I have set up in the family’s garage. Adam Thomson from Sportspower Mildura was fantastic in helping me get it all set up.
“I’ve been training at the oval with a number of local players one on one, Dom Scullino from South Mildura and Liam Marciano from Red Cliffs, both of whom have been great helping with ball work, which has been a benefit for all of us.”
The talented young wingman, who was taken at Pick 10 in the 2017 draft, is 185cm tall (6’1 in the old measure) and believes that he’s still been growing over the last 18 months, and is working hard to get a little bit more solid in his frame.
“I’m slowly getting into the weight sessions to put on a little bulk, it was never something I did growing up, so it has taken a little time to get used to,” Lochie said.
“At the end of the day, it’s not that hard to do, especially if it’s your job, so I won’t complain.
“There are five AFL listed players from Mildura, which is great for the area, and I’m sure they are all really looking forward to the season getting started again – I know I am!”
Story and photo courtesy of Mildura Weekly