Pain-free skipper muscles up
DESPITE wishing his holiday had lasted longer, Ipswich Jets captain Keiron Lander was more than happy to be involved in the first night of pre-season training at North Ipswich on Monday.
"I'm just keen to get back into it," Lander said. "It's good to start a pre-season not injured."
It is a far cry from 12 months ago when Lander was taking baby steps in his bid to recover from an operation on a prolapsed spinal disc. That included swimming and core strengthening but no running or lifting.
At that stage there was no certainty he'd make it back on to the footy field at all.
He did but it meant Lander was behind the eight-ball to start the 2012 season and it took him "half a season" to reach the fitness levels he was aiming for.
Now, pain-free, he is able to rip in from the start.
But Lander has suffered too many injuries to take his current good health for granted.
"It's good to be back into strength and fitness," he said.
"I'm definitely keen to get back into it. But I don't know what's in store.
"You can still get injured in pre-season."
The other reason Lander is keen and eager is because he is confident about what the Jets can achieve in 2013 after the disappointment of finishing fifth in 2012.
"I'm happy a lot of the boys have returned," he said.
"That's how you build the club and its culture.
"We want a strong club, not just a strong (Queensland) Cup side.
"Retaining players is better than signing other lads."