Adelaide utility Ned McHenry says players’ team-first attitude, coupled with a desire to improve as individuals and as a collective, is what’s driving the side ahead of its 2024 AFL campaign.
The Crows’ season gets underway in just over a month and, with pre-season nearing the end, competition for spots in the Round One side is heating up.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, McHenry did not shy away from the fact he, along with all his teammates, were working hard to earn the right to be in the 22 for the opening round match.
But he said players were also focused on doing what is best for the team first, as the Club looked to end its finals drought.
“We are improving as a side, everyone is improving together collectively which means it is really challenging but it forces you to improve and compete at training,’ McHenry said.
“Personally I want to play AFL footy, so (I’m getting) myself into a position to do that.
“Everyone would be the exact same, everyone’s got their goals to play AFL, no one wants to play two’s as an AFL listed player.
“We are all competing for those spots, everyone complements each other and there is a certain mix that helps the Adelaide Crows win and that’s up to the coaching group but that’s also up to the playing group and we all buy into that.”
The 23-year-old is preparing to enter his sixth AFL season with the Crows and says this year’s pre-season has been the most enjoyable.
“I definitely feel a little bit older now and a little bit more assured around what the expectations are around pre-season and what is required,” McHenry said.
“My body probably feels a little bit better this year, I’ve felt like I have got through most of the pre-season and really enjoyed it but it’s still challenging that’s for sure.
“Burgo has got a good mix, we do a lot of footy, not necessarily running cone to cone so you really engage in the footy program which is great.
“In terms of being sore and stimulated in the gym it's hard, if not as hard as any.”
Adelaide’s pre-season fixture ramps up next week, as the side heads to Port Lincoln for its annual community trip.
There, players will take part in plenty of activities within the community, as well as an internal trial, before a trial game against Port Adelaide on February 23.
The Crows will then play West Coast in an official AAMI Community Series game, before kicking off their 2024 AFL season against Gold Coast on Saturday, March 16.