The difference a year can make.
With round one just a week away, there is no question we see a different Joel Selwood to that of 12 months ago.
The clock is not ticking in a race against time, replaced by a far more measured and controlled build up to next Sunday’s season opener in Perth that looms a stark contrast to this time last year for the Geelong skipper.
Having battled a foot injury all through the 2016 pre-season, Selwood’s first hit-out came in the form of a VFL practice match just days before the home and away season.
Somehow, he would go on to forge a stellar year individually – averaging 28 disposals and named All-Australian captain for the second time.
If that is what is possible from limited preparation, then who knows what lays ahead for the 28-year-old midfielder who has now enjoyed his best pre-season to date.
“The body is feeling good and It’s just been nice to get some work in,” Selwood told Cats Media.
“I probably won’t appreciate it until I get down the track a little bit longer throughout the season and [am] feeling a bit better for it.”
“Last year I came in not so much healthy but still feeling good. It’s the pressure of putting all that work into place now, knowing that I can actually run out of the centre square instead of holding myself back a little bit.””
While on the surface it appeared Selwood didn’t miss a beat, there were some signs his fitness was not where he’d like it to be in 2016.
“Last year I had to spend a little bit more time on the bench at times,” Selwood admitted.
“When I went to the bench I’d sit for four to five minutes instead of now I could probably get up in two minutes and feel just as good.”
Selwood will lead his Cats out for their season opener in Perth next week against Fremantle.