Early Crows: Adelaide players already back in training
Adelaide has started training in groups as big as 16 with the player-led sessions setting the tone for a pre-season of redemption after winning the club's first-ever wooden spoon.
As recently as Friday, a group of Crows were running laps near Adelaide Oval just hours before the Power hosted Richmond in the preliminary final.
With players not officially required back at West Lakes until January, they are working out together in the gym and on local ovals to avoid a repeat of this season's COVID-break, which they have admitted they got wrong.
"We had a large group on Friday actually, we all caught up and did the running together and were even able to get a couple of footy drills in," Brodie Smith told The Lowdown Podcast.
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"So we've started nice and early, everyone is motivated, clearly the wooden spoon is not where we wanted to be.
"The way we finished, I think we've taken a lot of confidence from that and the boys are really keen to put some hard work in.
"With (interstate border) restrictions, a lot of the guys have stayed in Adelaide so it's a great chance to show these young boys how to train in the off-season and come back to pre-season really fit.
"But when we were training on Friday morning not far from Adelaide Oval knowing a prelim was there that night, it still hurt quite a bit, so I think we got a couple of extra laps in as motivation."
Smith said the impromptu sessions are arranged by members of the club's leadership group and he has also turned to cycling to minimise the impact running has on his body.
"We have a group message and one of the leaders will chuck it in there that they're going to whatever ground at whatever time; some of us are in the east and some in the west (side of town)," he said.
"Whoever wants to come just rocks up and last week we had 16, (which is a number) I don't think I've ever seen in an off-season at the one session, so it's pretty impressive early days to see.
"Big Jordon Butts looks like he's put on a bit of size in the gym, so he's going well early.
"It's good to see the young boys are taking it on and we obviously don't want them to do too much and burn out by the time we get to pre-season.
"But there's no doubt this is our opportunity to really make some ground on the competition and go into next year swinging."
The Crows were criticised for returning from their COVID-break in poor physical condition this year and by the time they made up the ground they were at least competitive, but it was very late in the season.
"We definitely feel like we could have done the COVID break better, for sure, it was obviously a strange time and no one really knew what was going on," Smith said.
"We took the opportunity to let guys go home and be with family, it was a bit worrying when everything first started.
"So, (now to have) the ability to show these young guys and not just assume that they know how to train, we need them to train at a certain level and that's why the leaders are sending out the messages so we can drive these sessions.
"Because if guys go off and train on their own, you can't match the intensity that you do at a pre-season.
"So, we felt like we missed something there and that's why we're really keen to attack this off-season, we know we have the majority of the group in Adelaide and can put in some strong work before we get back to training in January and hopefully it will catapult us into next season."
Originally published as Early Crows: Adelaide players already back in training