Now at the back end of a hands-on pre-season, young gun Victor Radley stopped by for a chat about all things pre-season as well as his road to the first grade arena.
It's been an eventful pre-season for the young utility, with this marking his first full pre-season at the top grade and his hard work being rewarded with a call-up to the Emerging Blues Squad.
Enjoy the full Q&A with Victor Radley below.
You've been back from the Christmas break for a month now, but how was your time away?
The break was grouse!
I went up to Byron bay for the first time for about a week.
Spent some time there over Christmas and New Years and I had the time of my life.
It was probably one of the better Christmas breaks.
Bit of a shock to the system coming back to hard training?
Oh it was a shock alright, a big shock.
You’ve been here doing pre-season since day one, how is the body feeling after all this time?
My body is feeling much better now than it did day one.
The first six week block I was struggling, now I feel like I’m used to it a lot more.
I’ve gone from being wrecked to feeling pretty good.
It probably shouldn’t work like that, but it does!
Let’s talk about last season.
You win the comp filling in for Grant Garvey, then come back in Round 1 with the 20s and score four tries?
Nah, it was three tries!
Three tries in your first game back, looking unstoppable, what do you put that form down to so early in the season?
I think it was just confidence from the end of 2016.
I just backed myself and knew that I could do it.
The year before that would have been more 50/50, like “Am I good enough to play 20s?”
But after the back end of that season and winning the comp, I knew I was capable of having a good crack.
Did you notice that your form at the start of the season was turning the heads of the first grade Coaches?
I felt like my form was good for the first bit of the season and that I had a chance, but it sort of mellowed out through the year.
When I did get the chance it was when Nug got injured, but I still didn’t think I’d play first grade.
I knew I could kick it with the big boys once I started training with them, but I can’t really explain how it felt.
It was a massive step, but I felt good about it.
You joined the first grade squad halfway through 2017, talk to us about that transition from 20s to first grade.
I enjoyed it heaps.
I was working and doing 20s at the same time, so I was constantly working and then making it to training in the afternoons which was really tough.
Once I got to training with the big boys, it made a massive difference to my life.
It kicked me up another step and it led to me playing my first game of first grade.
You made your first grade debut and went on to start the next few games at hooker, what was the difference from 20s and first grade that you noticed in your first game?
I was SO tired.
From the first two minutes until I came off, I was physically and mentally drained.
Nug (Friend) does it week in and week out, and I was broken after three games.
I knew I could kick it with the big boys once I started training with themVictor Radley
Were you impressed with what you were able to do at the top grade?
I was happy with what I did.
I concentrated on keeping it simple, passing the ball off the deck and not doing anything too fancy.
I was pretty happy with the games I played, but can’t help thinking I could have tried a few more things.
The Club veterans have all said throughout the pre-season that this is the best group of young guys we’ve had. Do you feel good about being a part of that talk?
It feels good.
We had two weeks before the older boys came back and it was a hard two weeks.
Everyone was pushing to beat each other and had a really competitive nature that really helped the younger batch improve before they came back.
We wanted to be at their level when they came back.
Have any of our new recruits offered any guidance since coming to the Club?
All of the new guys are top blokes.
Cronk, Tedesco, Reecey (Robinson).
They’re 10/10 guys, I could ask them anything and they’ll do it even though they don’t know me too well just yet.
They’ve helped me out a lot.
2018… What’s the goal for Victor Radley?
I want to play more first grade games, that’s the big goal.
I want to improve from last year, and I think there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Do you have a role that you want to lock down, or are you happy to play where you fit?
For now I’ll just play where I fit, but I’m going to try hone in on the backrow or lock position.
If I’m going to play first grade now though, I’m happy to play anywhere from backrow to the utility dummy-half position.
The plan for this year it to play first grade anyway that I can.