Pre-season is only week one old, yet one of Collingwood’s young faces is already leading the pack.
With a focus on strength and power in the first block of the Magpies’ 2018 preparations, Alice Teague-Neeld has emerged as one of the pacesetters.
“A year ago, Alice could barely do a chin-up. Along with Sam Gooden, admittedly, their strength was significantly lower than the rest of the group,” Magpies Netball’s Movement and Weights Specialist Paul Marasco said.
“Heading into their first pre-season, it took them a few weeks to adjust. Their confidence in their bodies was down, but that’s something that usually comes with experience and age.
“To their credit, they haven’t stopped during the break since the season finished. They’ve been in the gym working really hard, and it’s shown.”
For 21-year-old Teague-Neeld, she arrived at the Holden Centre 12 months ago fresh-faced and eager to learn.
With lofty expectations after a standout junior career, Teague-Neeld was thrust into the spotlight alongside some of the biggest names in netball.
And after her debut season with the Magpies, the youngster is attacking the 2018 pre-season with one goal in mind.
“She’s on a mission,” Marasco said.
“Her mindset is incredibly positive and she’s putting in the work behind the scenes.
“I have five base programs which are individualised for each athlete. Her and Sam have impressed so much over the first week of pre-season to the point where we’ve actually moved them into a new program.
“We’re talking about two girls who struggled to do a chin-up this time last year. Now, they’re pumping out eight.
“I’m proud of them and it’s a credit to their attitude and approach to wanting to improve.”
Another catching the eyes of the strength and conditioning staff is the high-flying wing defender, Ash Brazill.
“She’s one of the strongest in the gym, and she always leads the way.”
“A year ago, she was rehabbing her knee, but the work she’s put in throughout the season and in the gym over the past few months has been incredible.
“We’re lucky to have so many veterans in the gym. Ash, Shae, Madi and Kim really lead by example and often provide a helping hand to some of our younger players.
“Their presence and willing attitude is so positive, and it rubs off on the entire team.”
With the season starting in April after the Commonwealth Games, pre-season will be split into blocks, where the players’ training loads with be altered.
Pre-Christmas, the focus will remain on strength and conditioning, with a team building flavour built into the program.
“We have three strength days in our program right now, but every second Tuesday, we’ll be out of the club, working on team building and bonding.”
“Whether we’re down at the beach, at the park, or doing an activity like rock climbing, we’re going to be out of the gym.”
Collingwood's 2018 campaign is officially underway.
And with the work being put in on and off the court, it's a good time to be at the Holden Centre.