West Coast captain Luke Shuey concedes his group weren’t match sufficient final season, however says the group at the moment are in the very best form since successful the 2018 flag.
The Eagles received simply two video games in 2022 as mass accidents and COVID disruptions wreaked a heavy toll on the membership.
The health of the group was additionally blamed for the horror on-field outcomes, with gamers similar to Elliot Yeo and Nic Naitanui copping the heaviest exterior criticism.
Shuey addressed queries about final yr’s health requirements head-on when he fronted the media on Wednesday, saying it had been a significant focus for the membership through the low season.
“Yeah, when there’s smoke there’s fireplace,” Shuey stated.
“Lots of people externally have been calling us unfit final yr. They most likely weren’t fully off the mark with that suggestion.
“Once we did our overview, we have been additionally going to determine what we wanted to get higher at, and you’ll’t do something until you are match on this sport.
“So our first step over the low season was ensuring we got here again in good condition.”
West Coast are being broadly tipped to complete close to the underside of the ladder this yr, however Shuey is quietly optimistic about what the group can obtain.
“I believe (we’re) definitely fitter than the final 4 or 5 years, little question,” Shuey stated.
“Our power and conditioning workers did a hell of a job placing collectively a program that was totally different to years passed by.
“The enjoying group was definitely extra pushed. There have been extra numbers coaching collectively every week.”
Shuey was 20 years outdated when West Coast collected the picket spoon in 2010.
The Eagles rebounded by making the preliminary remaining the next yr.
Shuey says the current examples of Sydney and Collingwood bouncing again from close to the foot of the desk had additionally buoyed hope of a fast turnaround.
“For totally different causes we weren’t aggressive final yr, and that was a rollercoaster of feelings at totally different occasions – embarrassing, disappointing, indignant, pissed off,” Shuey stated.
“For a few of these younger boys coming by means of, there was no harsher introduction than final yr. They’ll be taught from that and so they’ll play loads of footy for the footy membership over time to return.
“It’s the same begin that a few of us had in 2009-10 after we copped the picket spoon. I suppose it is a blessing in disguise in case you get uncovered to that at a younger age.
“You realise how robust AFL footy could be. It’s not all beer and skittles and people guys are hopefully in for a couple of extra profitable years than final yr.”