Sea Eagles Coach Geoff Toovey has given his first insight in to how the 2015 playing squad are looking just a few short weeks in to preseason today.
Most tales of preseason are ones of pain and punishment, but a jovial Toovey gave an insight today in to the way the Sea Eagles, including a number of new faces, have been working during the early stages of preseason.
“It’s a good time of year. We like to make sure he players are enjoying their footy and even though they don’t realise it, they’re working hard. It’s good to see them having a bit of a laugh as well as working out,” Toovey said.
Departing players took with them a bucket-load of experience in the playing roster, but change and new faces have helped refresh the current crop and bring a new vibe at Sea Eagles HQ.
“I think fresh faces is a bit of a challenge for some of the old heads that are established in the team, so it always brings that extra bit of character to the training session and some of them have bigger characters then others.”
Speaking of characters, what about Willie Mason?
"He's going well, the players enjoy his company, I think he'll be an integral part of the team," Toovey said.
"He does like to hold court quite often. He's a big personality and he's got a stature to match it as well."
The fact that Mason is one of a number of new faces around the Narrabeen training facility not only helps in terms of plugging the experience lost from departing players but also helps create healthy competition for spots and avoiding complacency Toovey believes.
"[There is] some high quality talent coming to the side, I think they're excited and people put that bit of extra effort in as well when they know it's not a walk up ride into the team," Toovey said.
Toovey also said it was also good to have Williams back training with the squad after the popular winger was forced to sit out the second half of 2014 after being found to have placed bets in games involving Manly in contravention of NRL rules.
Williams hadn't allowed himself to get too down, despite the ban, Toovey added.
"Wolfy's a great character, he's a very positive man, he's another character at the club, he's training hard and that's all you can do,” he said.
“He had some minor issues last year with regard to some breaches there but as I said they're only minor," Toovey said.