WESTERN Bulldogs premiership captain Easton Wood is confident he will be fit to play in practice matches as he recovers from major ankle surgery.
The rebounding defender will start pre-season training at Whitten Oval on Monday but is already working towards 2017.
Wood, who returned home to Camperdown on Tuesday to speak to students at his former schools about the Bulldogs’ drought-breaking flag, played with the injury throughout their fairytale finals series.
“I’ve been in the club a fair bit because they have a treadmill called an Ultra G treadmill which I can run on,” he said.
“It is a big bubble up to your waist and it pumps a whole lot of air in and you can run at a percentage of your body weight.
“It basically means you can run two weeks earlier than you would be able to it you just ran straight outside.
“I’ve been on that the last two weeks.”
Wood, 27, said he had enjoyed a hiccup-free recovery.
“It’s nice to get out of the boot and get moving around,” he said.
“It’s slowly coming along but it’s great – they (the surgeons) did a good job, so it will be a full recovery and I’ll be back to normal.
“I’ll be back into full training around January I think and hopefully I can get enough fitness under my belt to be ready for those pre-season games.”
An overseas holiday with his girlfriend Tiffany gave Wood the perfect opportunity to reflect on the Bulldogs’ first flag in 62 years.
“I aim to do that every year and this year it was as important as ever and as fun as ever,” he said of travelling.
“To go away halfway across the world, it’s really nice, especially after the whirlwind we had.
“To get away from it and get back to normality and just explore another country and people with different lives and upbringing was great.”
The 2015 All-Australian expects the Bulldogs to take the premiership hype in their stride.
“It is still surreal for me, that’s for sure, and when I get back there on Monday and everybody is in, it’ll be interesting to gauge the feel of the place,” he said.
“But I can only imagine it’s going to be very positive.”
Wood made a whirlwind visit to the south-west on Tuesday, pencilling in visits to Camperdown Primary School and Camperdown College before lunch with his mother Fiona for her birthday.
The 107-game veteran said it was a humbling experience.
“One of the teachers, Vicki Angus, sent me a photo from the primary school,” he said.
“They’d done a bollard up with me on the bollard which was quite lovely, so I thought it was a good chance and probably important to come back and speak to the kids.
“It was great. I reckon some of the teachers were more excited.
“It was so lovely to see them; I hadn’t seen them in such a long time but they were honestly a big part of my life growing up.”