A home gym behind a wool shed is helping an AFL draft contender improve his fitness amid another COVID-19 lockdown.
Penshurst teenager Josh Rentsch, who turns 18 later this month, is one of three south-west teenagers preparing for the AFL Combine in an unusual circumstances.
But the Ballarat Grammar boarder knows being self-driven is a trait which appeals to recruiters.
"Staying motivated and following the right regime is all I can really do at the moment," he told The Standard.
"I haven't really got much access to coaches at this time, so it is a lot of self-driven preparation.
"It is a lot of independent training."
Key focusses include the two-kilometre time trial, yo-yo endurance test and 20-metre sprint.
"Penshurst oval is a reliable venue for me (to train) but also the home gym at the back of the woolshed works pretty well," Rentsch said.
The unique training set-ups has become the norm for many footballers in the past 18 months with lockdowns implemented on numerous occasions across Victoria.
Rentsch said it had strengthened his resilience.
"I think going through last year built a lot of perseverance in our whole team at the (GWV) Rebels, to stay motivated at home during the lockdowns and train harder," he said.
"Moving forward it is about honing into those past experiences."
Making the Vic Country team and earning an AFL Combine invite were pre-season goals for Rentsch.
But he is keeping his expectations in check.
"You don't know what the recruiters are thinking so it's best to stay grounded and keep focussing on the days as they come," Rentsch said.
The reason recruiters are interested? Rentsch is a 197-centimetre key forward who can pinch hit in the ruck.
He's played both roles for NAB League club GWV Rebels in 2021.
"I moved more into the ruck in the second half of the season," he said.
"You are more involved around stoppages and the ball and staying fast and vigilant with your hands playing with midfielders.
"I think with the way we set up, I am more of a one-on-one isolated contested player (in the forward line) but mixing it up I find really effective and always keeps them (the opposition) guessing."
Two players - St Kilda's Rowan Marshall and Geelong's Tom Hawkins - provide Rentsch with inspiration to play both roles.
Marshall, who hails from Portland, splits his time between ruck and forward and Hawkins takes the Cats' ruck contests at times inside 50.
"I think they are both really powerful and just strong players - you just don't know what they're going to do, they're unpredictable in how they breakdown their opponents," Rentsch said.
"I think they are both awesome to watch."
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