Monday morning formally marked the first day of pre-season for the West Coast Eagles’ first-to-fourth year players, with the next generation of talent excited to get back to work.
Emerging young forward Noah Long, who played 19 games in his first season at the club, said he and his teammates have been raring to officially return to the track.
“It’s exciting, it seems like it’s been a while in the making,” Long said.
“Us young boys have been back for a little bit now, just training together, kicking the legs over.
“But to officially be back now, it’s exciting, I think everybody is ready to have a fresh start and go again.”
West Coast’s new High Performance Manager Mathew Inness put the players through their paces, starting the session with a Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS) test, a useful tool for providing an accurate representation of a player’s cardiovascular fitness.
The MAS test involves players running progressively faster over a predetermined distance and time, the speed gradually increasing until the player reaches their maximal sustainable effort.
“It was solid, super solid,” Long said.
“It was good to do something different, but it wasn’t any easier than any other test.
“We knew (it was coming) but we didn’t know exactly how it was going to pan out, but we knew it was going to be something different, Mat had explained it to us a few times, but until today, it was pretty fresh, I don’t think anyone had ever done it.
“It was tough, that’s for sure.”
In promising signs for fellow young midfielder Reuben Ginbey, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained in round 18 against Richmond, the Dunsborough local looks to be in excellent form, acing the MAS test and setting a high standard for his teammates.
“He’s in super nick at the moment, he’s been sort of the benchmark for boys to catch over the off-season so far,” Long said.
“No matter how hard you try, or anyone tries, you just can’t catch him.
“He’s set a great standard so far for the boys to get to and after his hammy last year, I think he’s had a good opportunity to get super fit again and add a bit more size.”
Following a challenging 2023 season, Long said there was a focus put on developing the connections and friendships within the group, which has made the whole experience more enjoyable.
“From our first-year group last year, that was a bit of an emphasis, we tried to get as close and best mates as we could,” Long said.
“I feel like that’s sort of grown to the whole first-to-fourth year group, so that makes training now super enjoyable because we’re just best mates and we’re training together and trying to get better.
“It’s exciting and super fun to be able to train with your mates.”
After signing a two-year contract extension last month, Long shares the motivation behind his decision to continue his career in the blue and gold.
“I’ve loved it so far,” Long said.
“I think it’s an easy move from country Victoria to Perth, I’ve loved the club, the club has been super helpful with me, I’ve made good friends, it’s just a no-brainer, I’ve loved it.
“I’m super happy and grateful to be able sign an extra two years and hopefully continue to grow and get better with the younger crew.”