Smith's return a highlight of The Dons' camp in Coffs
THE Dons are spending the week doing the hard slog of a preseason training camp in humid conditions on the Coffs Coast.
The AFL squad hit the ground running at the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park this morning.
The Bombers will be in camp in Coffs Harbour until Thursday before returning to Melbourne for a series of AFL pre-season hit-outs ahead of round one against Fremantle on March 21.
A key focus of today's training session was the proven fitness of Devon Smith, who confirmed he'll play in the preseason after recovering from knee surgery.
The goal scoring midfielder's 2019 season was cut short in Round 8 last year when he required surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament.
"I'll be good to go from day one, I've completed all the sessions and I've got my eyes on round one," Smith said.
"I've been carrying (the knee injury) for four or five years and (post surgery) it's probably the most completed pre-season I've had in five years, so I'm actually feeling really good.
"Obviously there are injuries in our game, it's just a reality, there's 40-odd players on the list and you need troops to step up.
"We got games into guys last year who hopefully will come on in leaps and bounds and get those really important players back out there and playing good football.
In his season of recovery and rehabilitation, Smith said he used the time to give back to the club as a distraction from being sidelined.
"It's never fun and I'm not someone who likes watching football especially at the time we weren't going too well so you feel a bit helpless," Smith said.
"I did other things, a little bit of coaching a bit of recruiting, so I found avenues to get better as a person."
He said there's a good feeling in the camp ahead of the 2020 season, where the Dons will have eyes for finals footy after finishing eighth last season.
"It's a strange one, everyone is saying we are the strongest and fittest we've ever been, but we are just all about our process and being consistent with our training and trying to get better every day.
The Bombers will face another tough session in draining humid conditions in Coffs Harbour tomorrow.
"That's half the reason we are up here to get a sweat up and challenge ourselves mentally," Smith said.
"It will be nice actually to get an ice bath today and you don't say that much in Melbourne."
"It's never fun and I'm not someone who likes watching football especially at the time we weren't going too well so you feel a bit helpless.
"I did other things, a little bit of coaching a bit of recruiting so I found avenues to get better as a person."