RICHMOND midfielder Dion Prestia has declared the Tigers are in better shape than they were this time last year as the club gets stuck into the training camp “where it all started” in 2017.
The reigning premiers are on the Sunshine Coast this week for a six-day camp which — like last year — will be about more than just sweating it out on the training track.
Last year’s camp had a large focus on team bonding and culture which players credited in helping end Richmond’s 37-year premiership drought last year.
This year’s camp is one day shorter but has been built around a similar schedule.
“It’s probably where it all started last year,” Prestia said.
“We got a lot out of the camp. We’ll obviously train hard but we’ll do a lot of team bonding activities and just getting to know each other better and just building those strong relationships which probably helped a lot during the year last year.
“You’re with each other a lot during the year but it’s just that extra level up here so it’s good to bond with each other.”
Richmond midfielder Dion Prestia celebrates last year’s Grand Final triumph. Picture: David Caird
Laughing off any talk of a premiership hangover, Prestia said all key indicators were suggesting the Tigers were fitter and stronger than they were this time last year.
“I think we’re going probably better than we were last year,” he said.
“That was going to be a challenge for the boys in the off-season just how we come back but everyone’s really impressive on the track and all our running times, they’re all better than what they were last year so it’s been a real good start.
“We obviously celebrated the grand final victory and everything but once it was time to come back to work everyone knuckled down and came back in great shape.
“Everyone else is improving and we feel that we have a lot of improvement as well. Even coming off a premiership we feel there’s a lot of improvement still to go and it’s just the start.”
Forward Daniel Rioli has joined teammates on the camp and has resumed running as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.
The Tigers face Essendon in their opening match of the pre-season competition in Wangaratta on February 24.