The road to Round One has begun with preseason officially underway. It's only been a few days into training but the team has hit the ground running in preparation for the official start of the 2018 season.
With plenty of new faces around the camp both on and off the field, there is an exciting and willing attitude pulsing through the camp.
“It’s been a really great start from the boys, impressive actually. We haven’t worked with the full squad yet but it’s been really exciting so far,” said Peter Gentle, Rabbitohs assistant coach.
Gentle, who has two decades of coaching experience behind him, has been brought on board by Head Coach Anthony Seibold to work on defence, with a specific focus on our forwards' development.
With many players still to come back from their off-season, Gentle and the rest of the coaching staff have had the chance to assess some of the fresh faces who have joined the first team for this coming season.
“All the young blokes are very impressive. They’re enthusiastic, eager to learn and they ask the right questions, these are all great faces to have heading into a new season.”
One such new face that has joined South Sydney this year is young back, Jesse Arthars, who is only just adjusting to life in Redfern after making the long drive from Melbourne only a few weeks ago.
“The transition has been really good. I drove up here with my dad for preseason and I have settled in nicely,” said Arthars.
“The boys have been really welcoming and moving to Sydney has been an exciting experience.”
A star in the under 20s for Melbourne, claiming the gong for top point scorer in 2016 at 18-years of age, Arthars has already felt the rigours of first team training.
“The sessions have been tough. We’ve been put through our paces early, which is rough but I’m sure working with the rehab team and doing plenty of stretches will get me to where I need to be for the beginning of the season.”
With a bunch of young players joining Arthars here at the Rabbitohs, the new kids on the block are keen to get to work and showcase their strengths and weaknesses, which Gentle is eager to exploit in the preseason.
“They’ve all got certain skill sets that they're good at but it’s what they’re lacking and deficient in that we need to bring up to speed. They’re not going to be great at everything but we need to focus on both what they’re good and bad at and work on improving both.”
With a crop of enthusiastic talent with a strong working mentality, Gentle believes that there is no reason that the team’s goals this year can’t be achieved.
“The staff here are tremendous, everyone has got a great work ethic and are extremely good in their roles so I don’t think there is room for anyone to slip through the cracks or to have any excuses into why they’re not going to improve or achieve results this season."
However, the recently appointment assistant coach knows that there is still a long way to go.
“Right now we are just dusting off the cobwebs and getting the ball back in their hands. We’re only three or four days into a new preseason and there are guys coming and going all the time so it will build over the next couple of days and each week it’ll get better.”