A surprise gruelling Friday morning conditioning session has set the tone for what will be a huge pre-season for the Gold Coast SUNS male program.

In 30-degree Gold Coast humidity, the players were put through a circuit of cycling, rowing, ski ergo, dead-leg commando crawls and assault biking – a session which SUNS midfielder Jack Bowes described as one of the hardest he’s ever encountered.

“That’d be probably top-five today,” Bowes said. 

“It’s only week two so some of us boys weren’t expecting that.

“It’s good to get that big session out the way early and I think it’s going to get harder from here as well which is the fun part.”

SUNS High Performance Manager Alex Rigby pulled the wool over his first to fourth-year boys, scheduling a football skills session which would turn into much more unbeknownst to the players.

“Riggers likes to add a bit of mystery to things,” Bowes said.

“On the planner it was just a bit of footy training today, no conditioning just to play with our heads a bit.

“We did our running at the end as a surprise and then ran over to the back oval where we used to train and did some cross-training.

“It was pretty full-on.”

Bowes said he expected the demanding sessions to continue and hoped it would help the group in their goal to become one of the most resilient teams in the AFL. 

“We really pride ourselves on that and being a resilient club - we want to strive to be one of the most resilient clubs in the league,” Bowes said.

“Stuff like this that plays with your head a bit and you think you’re done but you’re not, it’s all pretty relevant to a game too in the last quarter when you don’t know how much time is left on the clock. 

“I think we can really utilise it to become a really mentally-strong team.”