Recruit Curtly Hampton says Adelaide has already lived up to its reputation as one of the hardest training clubs in the competition.
Hampton joined the Crows during last year’s Trade Period seeking more opportunities at senior level and to also reconnect with family in Adelaide.
The 22-year-old, who played 51 games in four seasons with Greater Western Sydney, has now spent three months at his new club sweating through one of the hottest South Australian summers on record.
Hampton braced himself for a gruelling initiation, but said Adelaide’s standards on the training track were beyond even his own expectations.
“My first few weeks here (were) a bit of an eye-opener,” he said.
“I moved here and I was pretty much into training straight away.
“I’ve always heard about how hard the Crows train ever since I got into the AFL. They’ve always been a team that comes up in conversation when people talk about hard trainers.
“I had a feeling that it was going to be really tough, and it was. All the boys just work as hard as they can and get the best out of themselves.”
Hampton said it was Adelaide’s senior players who drive the squad on the training track, naming Taylor Walker, Scott Thompson and Nathan van Berlo as the most vocal figures.
“They’ve got really good leaders here,” he said.
“You get out to training and you just follow the lead from the leaders. They set the standard at training and it’s pretty good to be out there.”
Hampton built his career as a skilful rebounding defender with GWS, but possesses the size and strength to play in a number of positions.
His versatility could prove valuable at his new club given Adelaide’s wealth of options across half-back. Brodie Smith is an All Australian defender, Matthew Jaensch was in career-best form prior to a season-ending knee injury, while David Mackay and Nathan van Berlo can also perform in defensive posts.
Fellow recruit Paul Seedsman is another vying for a spot in Adelaide’s best 22, as is skilful left-footer Harrison Wigg.
The 187cm, 91kg Hampton said he hopes his flexibility will help him become a regular in the Crows’ starting side.
“I do enjoy it (down back) and I had a couple of good seasons there. But I still reckon if I could get up the ground a bit more into the midfield somewhere I could show what I can really do,” he said.
“When I was younger I was sort of a forward flanker/midfielder, and even in my first year in the AFL I was playing forward. But then Kevin Sheedy chucked me in the backline halfway through my first AFL season and just said ‘I think your skills are a bit too good to be in the forward line. I think you can run and carry a bit more.’
“I haven’t really played anywhere else besides back flank since then.
“At the moment I’ve just been working with the backline group, but I have sat in on a few midfield meetings. I’ll just play wherever ‘Pykey’ feels he needs me.
“I’m not really too picky on a position as long as I’m going to get a game or do what’s best for the team. That’s all that matters.”
Hampton played just five games in his final season with the Giants and was hampered by groin soreness late in the year. Adelaide took a conservative approach with the recruit, but he’s now progressed into full training with his new teammates.
“I’m feeling really good now,” Hampton said.
“I’m in my third week of full training so the body is starting to get back in good shape and I’m getting my touch back.
“All the boys have made me feel really welcome. I’ve been here for three months now, and it feels like I’ve been here for a year.”