The Sydney Swans took part in a gruelling two-hour training session in hot and humid conditions at Coffs Harbour’s BCU International Stadium this morning.
A number of local Swans fans turned out for the club’s first session of the four-day camp, which included a 45-minute intra-club scratch match.
Swans assistant coach Stuart Dew said the aim of the scratch match was to get the players into the correct mindset ahead of the upcoming season.
“It was a really good session and the boys attacked it well,” Dew said.
“We had a bit of a scratch match to work on some general stuff, which went for about 45 minutes of game play.
“We just wanted to see the guys getting into good habits. A lot of the time when we do skill work it’s easy to just plod around a bit, so today was about some transition stuff and change of direction work, and just knowing where your man is - a lot of ‘footy smarts’ you don’t get in general skill drills.”
On field, Dew said Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh was a standout, as well as one of the club’s newest forward targets.
“Jarrad McVeigh was outstanding today,” he said.
“The other one was Kurt Tippett, who kicked three (goals) in a quarter on Teddy Richards; so Teddy won’t be happy with that, but ‘Tippo’ will be.”
Speaking after today’s tough session, Swans midfielder Craig Bird said it was the beginning of an intense program for the squad, with the hot and humid conditions in Coffs Harbour adding to the intensity.
“It was pretty tough conditions, the ball was pretty slippery and it was pretty muggy out there as well,” he said.
“The sessions are really ramping up now and are getting up towards 80-90 minutes and we’re really doing game simulation stuff, so it’s getting quite taxing out there.”
Bird said it was pleasing to see the majority of the team in full training, with only a handful of senior players including Adam Goodes, Marty Mattner, Nick Smith and Rhyce Shaw not taking part in the scratch match.
“We’re looking good, nearly everyone is back out training and a lot of the senior blokes are coming back into the drills and things are coming along really good,” he said.
“We’re practicing all of our game stuff now and things are coming along nicely.”
The Swans will return to BCU International Stadium on Friday morning from 9am to 11am for a second open training session, and will visit a number of local schools and host a kids footy clinic tomorrow afternoon.