THE TERM ‘quick off the blocks’ doesn’t do Karen Paxman’s start to pre-season justice.
Melbourne’s 2019 AFLW Best and Fairest winner flew around Gosch’s Paddock on Tuesday night, taking out first place in the 2km time trial.
The 31-year-old has returned to the club as fit as ever, with the past months priming her to attack the 2020 campaign.
“The benefit of training hard over the off-season is you come into the pre-season and you’re already getting off to a good start,” Paxman told Melbourne Media.
“You don’t have to work too much on fitness or the things you’ve already worked hard on.”
Although the pre-season has only just officially begun, the girls have been doing plenty of sessions away from the club.
“With the length of time in the off-season, it’s like a pre-pre-pre-season almost,” she said.
“I didn’t play VFL, so it’s just been a long few months of training really.
“Even just getting back out onto the footy oval with a team and kicking the footy, that’s been a while for me so it’s nice to get out and get back in that side of things.”
Unfortunately, the star midfielder suffered a broken finger during the off-season, but that didn’t hold her back.
“Obviously I couldn’t do ball work for a little while there, but I guess half of being injured is that mental thing where you can feel a little disconnected, so I just tried to stay involved,” Paxman said.
“I knew the finger injury wouldn’t last too long so I just tried to get out there and do the little things I could at the time.”
Paxman is always hungry to hit the training track and was more than ready to get back into the club this week as pre-season got underway.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
“But then it all starts up very quickly and we’re back into and it feels like we haven’t really left at all.
“We’re back where we left off which is a cool feeling.”
The star onballer has been at the club since the beginning of the AFLW competition and has developed a strong bond with her fellow teammates during that time.
“I think over the last two years we’ve been able to get closer as a team and really get to know everyone,” Paxman said.
“It feels like a really close bunch of friends now that you’re meeting up with again and that familiarity about it all which is nice.
“That’s definitely the benefit of the majority of the group being together for a few years now – it’s enjoyable being around everyone.”
And Paxman is hoping that connection will transition onto the field in season four of the AFLW competition.
“We know that we’ve still got a little way to come yet in terms of being able to perform at our best,” she said.
“We’ve seen snippets of our best, but we know we need to be more consistent in what we’re applying.
“We’re certainly building towards that and I think we got off to a good start earlier in the week.
“Energy is running high, everyone is pretty excited and raring to go, so it’s a good vibe and that’s an awesome box to tick straight up.
“It’s just getting that consistency with what we’re doing down pat and then hopefully by Round 1 we’re looking good.”