“I’M READY to go.”
It would have been near impossible to wipe the smiles of the players today as they walked through the doors of Ikon Park for the first time in nearly two months.
Reunited with their teammates and taking the first step towards the resumption of the 2020 AFL season, there was a definite sense of excitement among the group.
While there has been a lot of disappointment in the temporary hold on the season, it has also come with a silver lining for some of the injured players at the Club.
Tall forward, Harry McKay is one of the players who has benefitted from the extended break – able to use the time to get his body right in time for Round 2.
“It’s really exciting,” McKay said.
“Obviously the whole situation hasn’t been ideal for anyone, but it’s a bit of a silver lining for me.
“I can get some work in and a bit of training: the body is feeling really good. I’m in full training today and, if I get picked, I’ll be able to play in Round 2.”
The prospect of playing so early in the season looked unlikely for the 22-year-old earlier in the year.
Battling an ongoing groin issue, McKay’s ability to complete his rehab away from the Club has allowed him to rejoin the main group from day one.
While it’s a slightly modified training program with no contact in the opening week, McKay spoke of the importance of having the entire group together to build cohesion before the Thursday 11 June restart.
“We’ve only got three weeks so we can’t waste much time,” he said.
"That game simulation stuff, you miss when you’re running in twos. That’ll be the focus. We don’t have a lot of time to waste. It’ll be red hot when we start.
“I know for a fact that our group has done this really well, we’ve training really hard.
“We’ve seen this as an opportunity to get better and get a bit fitter. I trust that all the guys have done the work and it’ll help us when games start.”.
Thankful for the ability to return to training, the gravity of the situation has not been lost on McKay or the rest of his teammates.
Recognising the privileged position the team is in, McKay believes the group will respond in kind and continue to drive the high standards on the training field while also strictly adhering to any rules put in place by the AFL and the Club.
“We were privileged enough to come back and play footy which the rest of the public can’t do. We know with that comes more responsibility and restrictions,” he said.
“We’re going to make sure we’re really tight with that and play our part for the community: the last thing we want is another outbreak or to put everyone else at risk.”