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Veteran Swan flying under radar

Luke McManus  January 12, 2018 8:32 AM

McVeigh leading the way Jarrad McVeigh speaks to SwansTV about the buzz within the group and his most promising preseason in recent years.
Jarrad McVeigh has not missed a session of pre-season training since returning to the Club.

Jarrad McVeigh has not missed a session of pre-season training since returning to the Club.

There’s life in the old legs yet.

At least that’s the impression Jarrad McVeigh is making as the veteran utility puts together his best pre-season campaign in recent times.

In what is his 16th pre-season of AFL football, McVeigh has been a man on a mission since the Sydney Swans returned to training on December 4.

He’s yet to miss a session, which is a welcomed change of pace for the 32-year-old who’s body, durability and patience have been challenged by persistent soft-tissue injuries over the past three years.

McVeigh hasn’t featured in a Round 1 match since 2014 after a calf strain, knee surgery and another calf issue sidelined him in the lead up to the ’15, ’16 and ’17 seasons respectively.

Last year’s hiccups occurred in early March when McVeigh suffered a grade two calf strain at training, sidelining the former skipper for the entire JLT Community Series and first six weeks of the regular season.

A subsequent hamstring strain saw him play only two of the first 14 matches of 2017.

Fast forward several months and McVeigh is moving freely, the confidence in his body has returned and the entire playing group is benefiting from having such an experienced head guiding them on the track rather than from the boundary line.

“I haven’t missed a session so far,” McVeigh declared after Wednesday session at Lakeside Oval in Moore Park.

“I put in a lot of effort during the break to get my body right.

“It’s good to stay injury free (as) a good pre-season usually leads to a good year so that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

McVeigh’s absence, as well as other key omissions, during the opening rounds of last season created senior opportunities for the Club’s younger crop which then led to six debuts, making it 13 in the past two seasons.

Out on the track, he’s excited by what he’s seen so far and he’s looking forward to seeing who can grasp their next opportunity.

It’s what, he believes, will allow the Sydney Swans to grow and improve in 2018.

“We’re looking for that continued improvement from all our players, no matter what year (of footballing) you’re in,” McVeigh added.

“But to see the younger guys come through and keep pushing us older guys is what you want. 

“We want to improve as a football club, we need to in order to get back to the top, and that’s what we’re aiming to do.”