It has been a long haul for Liam Duggan but the important Eagle is back running and taking positive strides towards joining West Coast’s main training group following knee surgery.
Duggan was restricted to 14 games last year and battled soreness before undergoing a posterior cruciate ligament operation prior to the final round.
The road back has been lengthy, but the always upbeat 25-year-old is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
“Coming along. It’s been a little bit slower than what I initially first thought,” Duggan told westcoasteagles.com.au.
“Starting to make some gains with it now and getting back to running at this current point in time, so it’s been good to be able to get back out on the track and starting putting in some stuff we’ve been working on behind closed doors.
“It’s certainly been a little bit of a longer process than what I thought it was going to be.”
Duggan strode strongly around the boundary on the secondary oval at Mineral Resources Park on Monday morning as his teammates were put through another physical session.
This time last year, Duggan was one of the standouts at training in a new midfield role, and while he has some work to do to rebuild his fitness base the left-footer is making progress with almost two months until round one.
“Certainly when you see the boys fanging around like the are at the moment you feel a little bit off that in terms of physically getting back to that point,” Duggan said.
“It’s a good motivating factor, though, to know that’s where you’ve got to get to and to put in that little bit extra where you can off the field to make sure you’re ready to go when you get there.
“It’s only up from here. Starting to see the end of it and starting to get towards training and stuff again, which is exciting.
“Keep on this path and we should be good to go towards the start of the season.”
Pleasingly for the Eagle-eyed fans who attended Monday’s open session, star midfielder Elliot Yeo and big man Nic Naitanui were back in the thick of the action after recently being managed from full training.
Electrifying forward Jack Petruccelle also drew plenty of attention for his exploits during match-sim as he buzzed around and created havoc, backing up an impressive showing in Friday’s contested work.
Petruccelle is among several players battling for a small forward berth in upcoming games, with the return of Willie Rioli set to intensify the competition for spots and the likes of Jamaine Jones and Zac Langdon training strongly this pre-season.