When it’s the middle of winter in Perth and you scan social media, there’s nothing that triggers a jealous streak like a holiday snap from the Greek Isles posted on Facebook.
We have been spared that torment this year because international borders have been closed for months and are not likely to be re-opened any time soon. Indeed, interstate travel is heavily policed.
For a month now a group of 70 West Coast Eagles coaches, players and staff have been holed up on the Gold Coast and at the risk of being that person who posts a picture of majestic coastal views, a frosty cold beer and a seafood platter in the foreground, it has been stunning here.
To give readers some idea of the glorious weather, the backdrop to this morning’s training session on the makeshift oval at Royal Pines Resort, was a film crew creating an advertisement, presumably for the resort.
Officially, the resort is not open to the broader community, but they may well be readying for the time when the doors are thrown open.
I’m no director, but conditions were perfect for television. A soft morning sun rising slowly, breaking through to reveal another stunning day.
Sorry, for being “that annoying person” to let you know things are brighter elsewhere – at least in a weather sense – in the knowledge that Perth is dealing with overcast and damp conditions right now.
Aside from winning on Saturday, one of the best things about being in this hub has been (fingers crossed) missing the worst of the Perth winter.
While there has been the odd deluge, the weather has lived up to its reputation. Today when players rolled through their Monday program, they did so in t-shirts and singlets. Not a fleece or tights to be seen. It’d be different back home.
That adjustment will come next week, though.
Next Monday’s session will be held on home turf, with government approval it could even be Mineral Resources Park. But doubtless, wherever it is held, there will be an adjustment to be made after what will be five weeks in Queensland.
Today’s training session was another exercise with players rotating through in groups of eight or nine, with a line coach taking them through a series of drills.
They vary from line to line; the midfielders under the direction of Nathan van Berlo work on stoppages and connecting to a target forward of the game.
The backs work on their connection, plotting a way to find a midfielder to complete the transition. Under normal circumstances, that would be a teammate, but they have learned to adapt and usually the target is coach Jaymie Graham.
The forwards work on their aerial skills, as well as crumbing the ball off hands and, predictably, their goal-kicking skills.
They usually finish with Luke Webster giving them a little licence and more often than not it is screwing the ball around the body and finding the opening between the goal posts. The modern day player is more adept at that skill than any players from a previous era.
While of this is going on, senior coach Adam Simpson stalks the boundary line, just casting an eye of things, but from a prescribed distance of at least 20 metres.