AFL hopeful Lloyd Perris has had his first taste of a pre-season training program after joining the Sydney Swans on the track this week.
Perris, who is a member of the AIS-AFL Academy, is one of a number of talented teenagers joining in at AFL clubs this month to experience the level of work and the standards expected of elite AFL players.
The 18-year-old, who was also one of the inaugural members of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, has taken part in pre-season skills and running sessions and told sydneyswans.com.au that he has loved every minute of it.
“Just being a part of such elite training has been great and hopefully it will help push me to the next level,” Perris said.
“I’m just enjoying the high intensity and the skill level. What I’ve found is that you really have to take all of your opportunities and you can’t skip a beat.
“I’ve really also been involved in everything else including talking to the nutritionist and catching up with the coaches as well as speaking to Dennis (Carroll – Player Welfare and Development Manager), so I’ve pretty much being doing everything at the moment.”
In addition to enjoying the high intensity of the Swans pre-season, Perris said he has also relished the opportunity to work alongside some of his footballing idols.
“When you are around the AIS you’re not looking up to players like Jarrad McVeigh, so that’s one of the big things of being able to train with premiership players.
“That would have to be one of the most amazing parts of it and it doesn’t compare to the AIS in that regard.”
The young midfielder, who took out the Cameron Ling Medal for the most professional player in the AIS-AFL Academy last year, said he was excited to be participating in high-level training after a knee reconstruction set him back in 2012.
Perris said he hoped this week’s pre-season work with the club would set him up for a quality season on the field ahead of the 2013 National Draft.
“I had a disappointing year last year where I didn’t get to play much footy at all, so this year I just really want to get back into it and really set myself up by playing well in the Nationals and set myself up for the draft at the end of the year,” he said.
“I want to play well in the Nationals and I want to play a lot of reserves footy as well and do my best to impress the recruiters.”
Off the field, Perris is also preparing for a big year, with the teenager combining training with tertiary study and a new role at the Swans Academy.
“I’m living in Paddington now, so I’m really close to everything and I finished my HSC last year and I’ve been accepted into a journalism course at university, which I’m really excited to do,” he said.
“I was looking down the sports science path but I decided to do something different and I’ve always been interested in reading and writing, so I’m looking forward to starting in March.
“I’m also going to be doing a bit of coaching with the 11s or 12s in the Swans Academy, so it will be good to give back to the Academy, which I’ve gotten a lot out of over the years.”