Wagga footballer Harry Cunningham hopes to use another big pre-season as a launching pad into a successful and injury-free year.
The Turvey Park junior was home in Wagga on Monday with a few Sydney teammates as part of the AFL Community Camps.
Cunningham is embarking on his seventh season in the AFL and is determined to return to his best after a couple of injury-interrupted years.
“Getting the body right is always something you want to do and heading into my seventh season, your body gets hardened after so many pre-seasons and I think it’s done that again this year with another full pre-season,” Cunningham said.
“Touch wood it stays that way. You work pretty bloody hard to get to this position, you don’t want to be getting injured throughout the year.
“It’s all about getting the conditioning into the legs, the runs on the board and hopefully play some good footy in the JLT and go from there.
“I’m looking forward to the season starting and the games rolling around. It’s something that we’ll all get excited about so I can’t wait for that.”
A foot injury kept Cunningham on the sidelines for more than half of the season last year. The year before it was his form that had him in and out of the team.
This year he has his sights set on playing every game.
“I’ve got a couple of goals. To play every game to start, I’ve missed a couple of games here and there the past couple of seasons through either form or injury so to be able to play every game this year would be awesome,” Cunningham said.
"And obviously success. We play footy for success so the goal is still there to play finals and win big games and nothing’s stopping that this year.”
Cunningham hopes to start his season on Saturday week in one of the new AFLX tournaments in Sydney. AFLX is a new high-octane shortened version of the game that AFL is experimenting with in the pre-season.
“I’d love to have a crack at it. You never get to play on Allianz Stadium, the rugby league ground, so that would be awesome,” he said.
"We haven’t spoken too much about AFLX for the moment because we’ve got a higher priority with the season coming up in but it’s something that is new and exciting and it’s pretty fast paced.
“We’ve had one or two goes at it. It’s very up and down, there’s barely any stoppages, which I think, is the purpose of it. It’s very taxing, which is something that is good for pre-season I guess, good for conditioning but we won’t go heavily into it when we’ve got the Giants and Brisbane in the JLT games coming up after that.”
Cunningham said he loved the chance to return home to Wagga again.
“It’s always good to come back here, come to the old schools, spread the word and hopefully see the family while I’m down here,” he said.
“There is a couple of new boys with me that have never seen Wagga before so it’s good to show them around, especially Colin (O’Riordan), who is from Ireland and I don’t think has ever been to a little country town like this before.”