Young midfield trio Sam Flanders, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson are among a long list of players impressing SUNS coaches on their return to pre-season training.
The SUNS are part way through the second week of preparations follow the Christmas break with midfield coach Steven King saying the squad have returned in tip-top shape.
“The boys have returned really sharply,” King said on Wednesday morning.
“A lot of them have ran (2km time trial) PB's and we’ll hit some match simulation on Friday. Collectively as a group we’re in great shape with great availability.”
The experienced Brandon Ellis, now in his 12th pre-season, was one of those who ran not only a personal best in last week’s 2km time trial, but a club record.
“Brando is a great athlete, but I think he felt some pressure from the young boys pushing him along, so he’s come back and ran a PB,” King continued.
“We talk about raising the floor and those guys going after it, keeping the older boys on their toes.
“They’ve had another year, they’re a bit more mature, learned about the caper a bit more, bit more professional stronger, fitter and then their footy is coming along too which is exciting.”
With three seasons of AFL footy under each of their belts, King says the influence of Flanders, Rowell and Anderson has been particularly evident.
“Working with the midfield I’m a bit biased but Sammy Flanders has come back in ripping nick. He ran a PB and is dominating training,” King continued.
“He’s almost now taking the next step into progressing into a young leader at the club.
“I’ve also been really impressed with Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson. Both highly touted, Rowelly has had a bit of an injury-interrupted career to date, but his pre-season has been exceptional.
“The way he’s training, I think he’s going to take another step forward.
“Noah, being the young leader he is, the way he controls the club already is impressive.
“We want to try help guys like Touk (Miller) and Dave Swallow to share the load a bit. Those guys played such an important part in their own development to establish themselves as regular AFL players and then that inner belief that you belong and can impact games.”