With just 74 days between the official start of pre-season training, and round one, Josh Kelly is wasting little time easing into 2021.
Coming into his eighth season, the 25-year-old smashed the club’s 2km time trial record on his first day back at training, and is only looking up from here.
“The sun’s come out for the last week-and-a-half and training’s been tough,” Kelly said.
“We’ve got a quicker build-up this year, we haven’t been able to ease in pre-Christmas and then get going around about now.
“I had a big focus in the off-season to put the work in running-wise and add a bit of strength as well.
“I’m always trying to continue to build on those things and see how I can improve my game.
“I was able to focus on a few things after an up and down year last year and try and implement them with the longer off-season.
“It’s been good to come back fit, I got the right work under my belt and now just need to stay healthy and stay out on the track so touch wood everything’s all good.”
A new season has seen Kelly working with a new midfield coach after Lenny Hayes stepped away from the game after the end of last season.
Mark McVeigh has moved from defensive coach to midfield coach and is making his presence felt with gruelling extra work for the group after nearly every session.
“It’s been good with ‘Spike’, he’s bringing that hard edge that’s probably come from him and the backline group,” Kelly said.
“We’ve had a few tough sessions at the end of training which have been good little touch-ups; a few push-up circuits and contest sessions just to hone in on those things.
“It’s all because we’ve got a quicker build up this season and we want to be raring to go come the end of February/start of March when we start getting into games.
“It’s a new face for the midfield group, he’s going to work us hard and it’s going to be a bit of fun that’s for sure."
The AAMI Community Series is due to begin in a little over a month’s time and Kelly is just looking forward to getting back on the footy field.
“2020 was a different year and we all faced different hurdles,” he said.
“Every club across the AFL had different challenges, people all over Australia and the world were facing different things so I’m looking forward to just being out there and back playing football.
“It’s about focusing on what we can control as a team and implementing those areas we probably didn’t hit last year.
“We’ve been able to address those early on and see how we can better ourselves as a team and as an individual.
“It’s been a good start, I’m excited personally and as a team, to see where we can take it this year."