It was only three years ago newly appointed Sydney development coach Lloyd Perris was a rookie-listed Swan extracting every ounce of energy on the training track.
But Perris had a whistle and clipboard in hand as Sydney’s first- to fifth-year players did exactly that on day one of pre-season training on Monday – and he says the youngsters hit the ground running.
Perris will oversee Sydney’s NEAFL side alongside Jeremy Laidler in season 2019, filling the boots of Tadhg Kennelly who’s assumed the role of defence coach.
QBE Sydney Swans Academy graduate Perris gave a glowing report of the opening session of the pre-season.
“Everyone’s looking fit and tanned at this stage of the year,” Perris told SwansTV.
“A lot of the boys look like they’ve put in a bit of work in the off-season, which is good. A lot of the boys were running well and just to get the group back together is really exciting.”
Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills and Will Hayward were among the young Swans at Bat and Ball Oval for day one of training.
The two-and-a-half-hour session saw them run from the Club to Bat and Ball Park, sweat their way through lap after lap and get their hands on the footy.
Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Lance Franklin and the rest of Sydney’s more experienced brigade will join the first- to fifth-year Swans on November 26.
Perris says it’s important Sydney’s youngsters get a head-start on the pre-season.
“First- to fifth-year players have to put in a little bit more work,” Perris said.
“They haven’t had the long five-, six-, seven-year careers the more senior players have had. So they’ve got to come in and get started early and put more work in. It’s a really good opportunity for the young players to build good relationships among each other and, as I said, put extra work in.
“Then you get the more senior players back and hopefully the younger boys have got a bit of a jump and everybody’s really buying in to the whole team environment.”
Perris said he was impressed with the performances of Heeney and rising midfielder Jordan Dawson on the first day of training.
“Isaac Heeney is obviously one of the older guys in that group now – one of the more experienced players,” Perris said.
“He did really well in the running and the skills and we’re looking at him to bring his professionalism and maturity to the rest of the group. He did that really well and I thought Jordan Dawson ran quite well as well. He also looked like he was moving pretty well in the drills.”