Walsh aiming for flying start

FORMER Young Footballer of the Year Tommy Walsh is enjoying life with his new AFL club Sydney Swans as preparations crank up ahead of the new season.

With just six weeks to go before the Swans square off against Geelong and Walsh’s old club St Kilda in the NAB Cup series at the Etihad Stadium on February 24, the former All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer is relishing the start of the 2012 season as he looks to make the cut in the AFL. After three months with the Swans — where he has been handed Tadhg Kennelly’s old number 17 — Walsh reveals that he has settled in well to his new surrounds.

“I am just taking it week-by-week. It’s a new club and a new adventure for me. It’s exciting. I am just excited about getting the next month under my belt and kicking on for the games,” Walsh said.

“It’s a great city. It’s been a bit cold lately but that suits me. I am enjoying it. It’s a good place to live. I feel like I am at home with all the Irish in Sydney.”

After a testing training session at the Lakeside Oval yesterday morning, it’s all systems go ahead of the new season for Walsh: “Training has been solid since we got back from the break last week. We had a very tough session on the first day back and we’ve just kicked on from there. All of the boys have come back in good shape so it’s exciting for the rest of the season.”

After two years with St Kilda where he never made his debut in the AFL, there are high hopes that Walsh will make an impact with the Swans but the Tralee native admits that he has a lot of work to do in the coming weeks to be ready for the new season.

“Because I’m new, I’m still learning the game plan and working on my leading patterns and follow up work,” Walsh said.

“Everyone’s got a lot to work on, but you have to just keep plugging away and hopefully it all comes together. It’s tough work but I expected that. I feel I’m fitting in well and getting to know all the boys and the way the team plays.”

Walsh linked up with the Swans last October and has impressed in training to date, and he is keen to make a mark in the AFL, with the Swans facing new side Greater Western Sydney in the first round of the new season on March 24.

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