Canberra's Josh Fahey has impressed wherever possible in recent years, named best afield for the NAB AFL Academy against Geelong’s VFL side in April this year.
The 18-year-old is well aware of his chances of pulling on an AFL jumper next season but says he’s taking it one step at a time.
“My main goal for the year was to get into the combine and then after that, the draft,” Fahey said.
“Motivation’s been a bit tough [due to COVID], but it isn’t something new. Last year was a bit hard at times because we didn’t know what was going to happen. Now I’m not playing footy or training to play, I’m just training to be the best player I can be…I think it’s about being ready at all times.”
Fahey, along with the other NSW and ACT products invited to the NAB AFL Draft Combine in 2021 had to log the two-kilometre time trial run on Strava.
The GIANTS Academy product has been working with Scott Smith, high performance coach for the GIANTS Academy, up to four times a week to improve his strength, speed and aerobic capacity.
It’s clearly paying off for him. Despite having a lengthy stint off running due to a foot injury earlier this year, Fahey managed a 5:59 for his two-kilometre run. Only three other players nationally went sub-six minutes.
“I just ran as hard as I could for two kilometres, really,” Fahey said of his result.
“Running’s one of the strengths in my game.
“Being able to outrun others and go that extra five kilometres during the last quarter when some players that don’t do the work, or just think it’s going to be easy, can’t get through it.”
The challenge for Fahey was beyond the physical.
With athletics tracks closed in Canberra due to COVID, Fahey admits he searched Canberra for a week to find the best surface. He settled on a synthetic athletics pitch and would hit the track alone without a crowd, a pacer or a coach.
Now the time trial box is ticked, Fahey is focused on finishing Year 12.
“At the moment my goal’s just to get that Year 12 certificate finished and enjoy school,” he said.
“November’s going to be a very busy month but also an enjoyable one and an exciting one.”