WEST Coast defender Brad Sheppard has no mental demons coming back from the severe hamstring injury which cost him a premiership medallion.
Sheppard was making his 95th consecutive appearance when he ripped a tendon after being pushed while he was at full stretch by Collingwood young gun Jordan De Goey in the opening term of a gripping qualifying final.
That twist of fate has been impossible to forget for the no-fuss backman, who was initially told by club medicos his injury might only have been a low-grade strain.
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"At that particular time, I was questioning my pain threshold," Sheppard said.
However, scans revealed the full extent of the tear and the reality dawned on Sheppard his 2018 flag hopes were over.
"By the way I was walking and how sharp the pain was I knew it was pretty severe and the day after it was a 12-to-14-week injury," he said.
It's feeling really strong now. I'm pretty happy with how the surgery went and I'm in full training at the moment, so positive signs at the moment.
"I've been matching up on Jack Darling a fair bit at training and he moves pretty well, and I've just been able to keep up with him, so safe to say there's no demons there now."
Sheppard joined heartbroken stars Andrew Gaff (suspension) and Nic Naitanui (ACL) on the sidelines for the Eagles' remarkable run to the flag.
He was still elated for his teammates to come from five goals down against the Pies in an epic Grand Final, and Sheppard's disappointment at missing out didn't stop him enjoying the celebrations.
"I was amongst it. I tried to get in and around the boys," he said with a laugh.
"It's one of those things, it's a unique situation playing 22 or 23 games throughout the year and missing out on the last couple.
"I still felt part of the group, even though I wasn't out on the field for the prelim or the Grand Final.
"I sat in the coaches' box for the prelim and I was around the group for those two games and really felt part of it.
"They were good celebrations and I wasn't missing out on them."
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Sheppard, 27, revealed there has been a "bit of banter around the club" about going back-to-back for the big-name Eagles who missed out.
But the hunger for another premiership appears widespread through the playing group, and roughly a third of the squad have run personal best 2km time trials this summer.
Rookie recruit Josh Smith has set the standard and set a new club record, while Willie Rioli has noticeably trimmed down and gun defender Jeremy McGovern appears significantly lighter.
"It's a credit to him (McGovern) what he's done in the off-season. Not only him but the whole playing group," Sheppard said.
"We came back and 15 or 16 players hit PBs in the time trials. It just really shows you the maturity of the group.
"We've played together for a while now and then you've got players that weren't in the 22 last year that are really putting their hand up to break into the 22, because it is going to be a tough 22 to break into.
"Seeing a couple of young kids – in particular Jakey Waterman, Jarrod Brander and Oscar Allen – putting their hand up, it does motivate the senior players and to date it's probably the strongest I've seen the list."