PRE-SEASON training resumed for some clubs on Monday morning after taking a break for the festive season.
But preparations for the 2016 season and the looming NAB Challenge, which kicks off in mid-February, ramped up for Adelaide, Collingwood, GWS, Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond and Sydney.
And already, the clubs are putting players through their paces and wasting no time with time trials to gauge the fitness levels of players.
We’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest news from your club — from the surprise performers to the winners of the time trials and everything in between.
The Crows kicked off its 2016 training with a 2km time trial. Split into two groups, defender Brodie Smith led the first group home while former skipper Nathan van Berlo won group two.
“‘VB’ got knocked off last year, so he was keen to get his crown back,” Smith said of teammate van Berlo after the time trial.
A welcome face at training was highly-rated young midfielder Brad Crouch who took part in ball work.
Adelaide players compete in the time trial on Monday morning. Picture: Sarah ReedSource:News Corp Australia
Jake Lever, Rory Sloane and Luke Brown in action. Picture: Sarah ReedSource:News Corp Australia
Nathan van Berlo won his group’s time trial before beginning skills work. Picture: Sarah ReedSource:News Corp Australia
The Magpies are back in training but not at the Holden Centre. Nathan Buckley and his team have jetted to Maroochydore for a week-long training camp.
The camp will be the third of the pre-season for Collingwood, whose first-to-fourth year players headed to Falls Creek and Portsea already to begin work for the 2016 season.
Fitness boss Bill Davoren says the trip to the Sunshine Coast will kick-start the group for the new year.
“The Queensland camp is a really important part of the next step. It’s the first week of January, which is something different; it’s something we haven’t done before. We’re literally going to finish the Christmas break and get straight on the plane,” he told the club’s website.
“It’s an appropriate week, because we’ve got to rebuild the football program after a two-week intervention, so it gives us a really good opportunity to build that in.”
Demons players returned to training this afternoon but will be spared the gruelling time trial on day one.
Instead, the players will train as normal to get back into the swing of things before completing a 3km time trial on Wednesday.
The Power started off their 2016 campaign with a 3km time trial on Monday morning, with Sam Colquhoun crossing the line in first place.
After finishing third and second in Port Adelaide’s previous two time-trials, the 21-year-old now has bragging rights as the fastest man over 3km at the club.
More than three quarters of the playing group recorded pesonal best times in the time trial, with the group returning in top shape ahead of more pre-season training.
“It’s probably the best I’ve seen the group run – certainly a (3km time trial) – in my time here,” cpatain Travis Boak said.
“It comes down to the times they’ve been running and if nearly three-quarters of the group have run a PB, then they’ve put in so much work.
“It’s quite easy to go back home or wherever you’re from and relax, have a few beers and take it easy … but they’ve certainly worked hard and come back in really good shape.
“We know our strength is our running and we build our game around that and that’s gone to another level so far.”
The Tigers returned to Punt Rd on Monday morning with Dustin Martin training alongside his teammates after being cleared by police over the Chapel St incident.
Martin is still facing sanction from his club and/or the AFL as the league continues its report.
On the track, the players mixed ball work with running duties to kick-off its 2016 training.
GOLD COAST SUNS
After a 2015 they’d rather forget, the Suns are out to seek redemption this year.
And already, they’re close to having a fully fit list, according to assistant coach Andy Lovell.
“We’ve had some really strong trainers but Kade Kolodjashnij is one that’s been outstanding on the track,” Lovell said.
“I think Alex Sexton’s another player that’s performed really strongly as well.
“I think as a collective group though it’s been one of our best pre-Christmas training blocks that we’ve had in some time so in terms of singling blokes out too much, I think as a collective we’ve been really strong.”
The cricketers may have taken over the SCG, but that hasn’t stopped the Swans hitting the training track.
And by the looks of things, they’re not holding back any punches.