Rhys Stanley has made a welcome return to the track and is not only looking forward to the NAB Challenge but also ramping up his healthy rivalry with new Cats big man Zac Smith.
The 25-year-old set the football world alight early in the 2015 home and away season though failed to capitalise on his impressive form, as he was cruelled by a serious foot injury which wiped out the rest of his year.
Having joined the main group this week though, it’s all eyes forward for Stanley.
“The surgeon is really happy. The physios are happy. The doctors are happy and so am I, so it’s all going well,” Stanley said.
“It was a slow sort of start through the off-season obviously with the injury, it sort of put me out for a bit.”
“[But] I fully trained today with the boys and then hopefully going on for the rest of this week I’ll do the same thing and then I’ll basically just be doing some top up running on the side to get that fitness base back up to where the boys are at.”
The Cats recently acquired talented ruckman Zac Smith from the Gold Coast Suns in an effort to stock an at times fragile cupboard of talls – and it’s a move which has only buoyed Stanley.
“I think that’s the sort of competition that’s healthy – that real competitiveness,” Stanley said.
“You give each other a bit and it turns into a bit of niggle and then after you get off the track you look at each other and think yeah that was good, we got something out of that."
“There’s some big ruckmen in the league and we probably don’t have the biggest body guys but with that really competitive stuff we’ve been doing, I think that’s going to hold us in good stead.”
Stanley may or may not be cherry ripe for the Cats first NAB Challenge match against Collingwood on February 26 at Simonds Stadium, but he’s confident if he continues to increase his workload he will at least see some action in the pre-season fixture.
“It’s definitely likely. I think with the full training I’m able to do, I feel that if I can fully train and tick that off there’s no reason I couldn’t play,” he said.