One word from co-captain Patrick Cripps captured the mood of players, coaches, staff and supporters alike upon the announcement from the AFL on Friday afternoon.
After what seems like an eternity away from the Club, Cripps spoke about the general excitement and buzz amongst the playing group with the news that they will be able to return to train from Monday.
The energy taken from the excitement of being back amongst teammates will quickly be channeled into hard work, as the groups look to put into action much of the planning and preparation that had begun during the pre-season.
“Like all footy fans, us players are bloody keen to get out there more to see everyone again and play footy again,” Cripps said.
“When you spend the whole year preparing to play and it’s taken away, you miss it.
“We’re all keen to see each other and I suppose re-work towards the goal we set at the start of November.”
The time away from the Club has had both its ups and downs according to the co-captain, with the time off providing an opportunity for many players to return home and spend time with their families.
While praising the efforts of the Club to keep the entire team connected and motivated, Cripps was looking be able to feed directly off the energy of his teammates and raise the bar on the training track once again.
“Everyone knows with footy clubs, the camaraderie: you’ve got so many good mates at the Club,” he said.
“Although you train bloody hard and you work hard to achieve a goal, that locker room chat and being around people you really enjoy hanging around with is what you probably really miss.
“I think everyone is buzzing to get back.”
While training will resume on Monday, the timeline put into action by the AFL will mean that the return will have a slightly different flavour to a regular pre-season.
The players will be limited to training in groups of eight with no contact for the first week, with restrictions easing on Monday 25 May ahead of the season’s resumption on Thursday 11 June.
However, Cripps remained confident that the time would not be wasted and would provide the team the opportunity to reflect on lessons from Round 1 and revisit any strategies put into place earlier in the year.
“We’ve got a month to really hone in on our skills and our game plan, which I’m pretty confident we’ll be fine with and get ready to go again,” he said.
“It’s a bit different to pre-season. Usually with pre-season you build up into it, but our program has been pretty solid.
“Other than that, I think the guys will just try and touch the footies and just sharpen themselves up in a bit of game plan stuff.”
Having returned home to Mandurah himself, Cripps said the investment from the Club towards the playing group was something which shone through over the last seven weeks.
“It was like anyone when it first happened: it was sort of an unknown. [It was about] making sure that everyone’s alright first – them and their families.
“That’s what the Club has done an awesome job of doing.”