Speedy West Coast defender Jayden Hunt is heading into the new season with confidence, with the former Melbourne Demon admitting he was pleased with his personal performance throughout his 2023 campaign.
Hunt played every game last season rotating across half-back and on a wing, and was recognised for his efforts with a fourth-placed finish in the John Worsfold Medal count.
“It was one of my more consistent years, I just wanted to come here and show my best self, which I think I did,” Hunt said.
“I also worked on my leadership side as well, I came from a team that was a lot older than we were (last season).
“Now I’m one of the oldest and trying to take these young guys with me and teach them what I’ve learnt through my career.”
As the 2024 season fast approaches, Hunt said the increase in intensity and match simulation drills at training is getting the team excited for games.
“I think the last two weeks have really ramped up with training, doing match sim drills and stuff like that,” Hunt said.
“We’re really ramping it up and trying to make training as game-like as possible.
“There’s a lot more hard running, a lot more contest work, and we’re just getting ready for matches in a couple of weeks.
“I think everyone is really excited, I know personally I like playing games rather than training, so if training is like that, it’s a lot more enjoyable.”
Comparing his first pre-season at the club to the pre-season he is currently working through now, Hunt said the team has really stepped up a notch.
“It’s been quite a big difference from last year, we’re really pushing ourselves out there,” Hunt said.
“We got into those match sim drills a lot earlier this pre-season, which is really good.
“I think it’s going to prime us, these last couple of weeks have been very tough, we were out there last Friday in 40 degrees, but I think the harder we can train, the more of that will come out in games so I think that’s a really good thing.”
Injury-plagued premiership midfielder Elliot Yeo has successfully remained healthy so far this pre-season and has been in fine form on the training track.
Hunt said Yeo is an extremely tough competitor, and he will have a big impact for the team come round one.
“When he’s on, right in the congestion, he’s such a bull and he’s so hard to tackle,” Hunt said.
“I hadn’t really seen it because he wasn’t really in full flight last year, but I’d obviously heard and played against him in previous years, and if we can have a strong Elliot Yeo (this season) it’s going to drastically improve us.
“He’s just a brute, he sort of bullies people around the contest, he’s not afraid to take people on and he’s got a little bit of white-line fever which is so important to have.
“I didn’t enjoy playing against him, but I’m definitely glad now that I’m on his team.”