When the Gold Coast SUNS selected midfielder Josh Schoenfeld with pick No. 34 in the 2015 national draft, they acquired an endurance beast.
At October’s draft combine, the West Australian recorded a 16.2 in the Beep Test, which he followed up the next day with a stunning 9:15 to break the 3km time trial record.
But despite his obvious running capabilities, Schoenfeld arrived at Metricon Stadium with a lightly-built frame unlikely to withstand the rigorous pressures of life at the elite level against much bigger bodies.
After a brutal pre-season in the gym, the 18-year-old has packed on enough lean muscle to put himself in the frame to be a part of Rodney Eade’s senior side.
READ: Emerging SUNS impress in intraclub
“I’ve gained six, close to seven kilos of weight, most of it muscle so pretty happy with that,” Schoenfeld told SUNS TV at Saturday’s Gold Coast AFL Open Day.
“It’s just the running side of things are getting a bit hard because I’m a bit heavier but I’m flying on the track and I’m feeling really good.”
Schoenfeld didn’t accumulate as much leather as he would have liked in Saturday morning’s intraclub match at Metricon Stadium, but believed he was better for the experience.
“It was tough, yeah, no doubt,” he said.
“Just the type of intensity, it goes up and it’s unbelievable but it’s good to get a run out, get a taste of it and it’s just going to help me get better.”
Eade is likely to give the elite runner an opportunity at some stage during the upcoming NAB Challenge series and Schoenfeld would love to be included in what is expected to be an inexperienced squad to travel to his home state of Western Australia in week three to take on the West Coast Eagles.
“Yeah, hopefully (get a game in the NAB Challenge), that’s the main aim at the moment,” he said.
“The more games I get, the better I’m going to get so hopefully get that exposure, especially down in Perth. There’s one in Perth so hopefully get to go home for that and play that in front of the home crowd.”
Schoenfeld’s goals for the 2016 season remain the same - push the current midfielders to become a legitimate threat for senior selection and if the opportunity does come, grab it with both hands.
“Just improve as a player and just really try and challenge the senior players for an opportunity in the side and just get a couple of games, as many as possible.”