Sydney Swans co-captain Luke Parker admits he was forced to adapt his leadership style during the AFL shutdown period.
Players returned to training this week after a two-month hiatus from football – Sydney’s last game being the Round 1 win over Adelaide.
Parker said it was a challenging time, but as a club leader he was determined to keep his teammates engaged and connected.
“The toughest thing was knowing how much to keep the boys engaged and not knowing when we were going to be back out on the track,” Parker said.
“We were having weekly Zoom meetings – and enjoying them – and keeping the boys accountable to their program in the off-season.
“It was about making sure that when we did come back, we returned at the same level that we were when we left.”
After training in groups of eight this week the program will increase to involve two whole group training sessions from Monday.
AFL games are set to return on June 11, with the first few rounds of the fixture to be confirmed by the AFL in the next week.
As far as pre-seasons go, the three-and-half week build up is a short one, but Parker said the team is just thrilled to have the return to play in sight.
“Last week we just wanted to get the boys back in Sydney to get their bodies screened and to see how we were coping with training (remotely), to make sure we could get straight back into it,” Parker said.
“This week will be in groups of eight and then next week we will be able to train as a group twice a week.
“I’m looking forward to getting into more game-like drills. At the moment it’s a bit of a mixture of getting the kicking back into the legs with a few sharp running drills.
“We are pumped to play again.”