The Bombers have taken their off-season challenge on board.
In the wake of a difficult end to the 2023 season, Senior Coach Brad Scott issued clear expectations for the playing group to return in top condition, which forward Archie Perkins believes the team has heard loud and clear.
Speaking after the full playing group’s second pre-season session, Perkins said the squad had returned in a position that would allow them to explore different facets of training earlier than expected.
“Everyone’s come back in really good shape and clearly put in some solid work over the off-season. We’ve come back ready to hit the ground running,” Perkins said.
“One of the things Brad (Scott) said towards the end of last year was to come back in a certain physical condition so we can start to do drills that we might not have been able to do for (another) few weeks if we weren’t physically ready.
“By all indications we’re really fit, so we were allowed to progress things a bit faster than last year. We’re doing concepts that we learnt last year (which we can) really build upon and execute quickly.”
The Bombers’ start to pre-season has seen a flurry of new faces join the fray, with eight players acquired from the free agency, trade, and draft periods in the past month.
Perkins has found a lift from the energy of the incoming players, who are already making their presence felt around the club.
“(They’ve settled in) really good and seem like really nice people, they’ve come in with a smile on their face, ready to get stuck into work,” Perkins said.
“They’re all really motivated, dedicated to get the best out of themselves and put themselves out there, so I couldn’t be happier with how they’re (going) so far.”
Perkins was one of a large contingent of Bombers who spent the end of their off-seasons on a player-driven training camp to Arizona, kicking off their training loads ahead of schedule.
The 21-year-old felt the trip offered a nice change in method ahead of pre-season training, with a focus drawn to improving the group’s burst efforts and rapid movement.
“(The camp) wasn’t so much aerobically based, so we really honed in on more of the speed, power, and agility side of the game,” Perkins said.
“It’s really relevant to football - I think you get your aerobic stuff in the pre-season with the kilometres you cover - so it was a move away from that to focus on a different side of training that could benefit us next year, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.”
Despite being utilised primarily as a high forward in the early stages of his career, Perkins saw increased midfield exposure in 2023 and recorded the highest disposal count of his three seasons so far.
Perkins is happy to remain flexible with his role heading into his fourth campaign, believing he can impact wherever needed.
“I’m happy to play wherever. I think I’ve got a good hold on how to play in the midfield and if I’m needed in there, I can step in to show my stuff,” Perkins said.
“I’m not losing sight that I can be a dangerous forward and a hard matchup for defenders there. (I’ll have a) bit of a blend in training, try to do as many sessions as I can and put myself in the best position to play as many games as I can.”