West Coast’s experienced campaigners are poised to have a big impact once the Eagles’ season gets back underway in nine days’ time, according to Jaymie Graham.
The back line coach told SportFM that the club’s senior players were lighting it up on the training track following a productive stint away from Eagles headquarters during the AFL recess.
“A lot of the senior guys have been around a while, so they handled it really well,” Graham said.
“They know their bodies and knew what they had to do to be prepared.
“I suppose the experience under your belt from a physical point of view and knowing what to do is important, because they’ve had so many pre-seasons under their belt.
“They have been instructed what to do for so many years that now it is instinctive, so that’s an important factor.”
Graham, who mentored the team's forwards group for several years before taking on defensive duties at the start of 2020, was particularly complimentary of his former student Josh Kennedy.
He said the two-time Coleman medallist was running around Mineral Resources Park like a hungry rookie.
“Josh Kennedy, for a senior player, he’s come back really fit,” Graham said.
“He’s a little bit lighter and he’s training really well.
“The fact that you’re not getting, Kennedy for example, bashed around week-in, week-out, he’s had a block where he’s just trained and got himself fit.
“Anyone who’s played footy knows that when you start that up again though you pull up pretty sore after your first session back because you can’t replicate it, but he’s done really well.”
Graham also sung the praises of on-ball duo Dom Sheed and Jack Redden, who he said were among the team’s standouts during recent training sessions.
He said the entire squad was getting a lot out of their final preparations ahead of their departure to the Gold Coast.
Most importantly, they were enjoying each other’s company and the familiarity of a relatively stock-standard work schedule.
“It’s been different in terms of having plenty of restrictions with the way we go about things, but it’s good to be back and know that footy is not far away,” Graham noted.
“I suppose one normality they have at the moment is actually getting out on those sessions and training normally without all of these restrictions in place.
“They’ve got to be mindful where they can and can’t go in the club with social distancing, but once they get out on the track they can have the contact sessions and it’s back to normality for them.
“I think they’ve enjoyed it.”