Second-year GIANT Toby Bedford has once again taken out the club’s 2km time trial as the entire playing group returned to the track on Monday morning.
Bedford, who joined the GIANTS during the 2022 AFL Trade Period following 18 games with Melbourne, was a clear standout in the time trial to register back-to-back wins after also claiming victory in last season’s pre-season time trial in January.
“The boys came back in really good shape and I’m happy to go back-to-back,” Bedford said following crossing the line first.
The 23-year-old small forward, who endured a stellar 2023 campaign after moving across from the Demons, led from start to finish to beat out recent draftee Harvey Thomas and wingman Ryan Angwin, with Xavier O’Halloran and young gun Finn Callaghan rounding out the top five.
Bedford was full of praise for his closest challenger in Thomas, with the teenager finishing just seconds behind Bedford after joining the club just two weeks ago with pick 59 in the 2023 AFL Draft.
“He started pushing the pace really fast and he pushed me,” Bedford said of Thomas.
“Every time I looked behind me he was right there and he’s settling in really well and on the track as well.”
The traditional 2km time trial kickstarted the first day of pre-season for the entire GIANTS’ playing squad, with the club’s senior players joining the first to four-year players on Monday to begin a two-week training block before the Christmas break.
“The race was really fast-paced, and everyone was really fit and we’ve all come back in really good shape,” Bedford said.
“We had a really good hit out of training after it and it’s been fun and I think everyone is excited to be back.”
After a strong first season at the club, playing 19 games and kicking 12 goals as one of the best pressure forwards in the competition, Bedford was intent on building on his debut season to help the club improve on last season’s preliminary final finish.
“[My focus is] to work on my forward craft and build connection with the new players and my other teammates,” he said.
“I had a pretty good first year I thought, with making connections with all the boys and playing some pretty good football towards the end of the year, so hopefully [I can] build on that and hopefully [we] go one step closer to winning a premiership.”
Following their upcoming intense two-week training block, the GIANTS will have a short Christmas break before the group return in January to ramp up preparations for an exciting 2024 season.
GIANTS’ 2km Time Trial Top Five
- Toby Bedford
- Harvey Thomas
- Ryan Angwin
- Xavier O’Halloran
- Finn Callaghan