WEST Coast running machine Andrew Gaff could sacrifice his interchange time to help powerful midfield teammates in 2021 after the AFL reduced rotations to 75 this season.
The wingman had some catching up to do on the track, however, after emerging from quarantine in Perth, where he could not run or kick for two weeks.
Gaff is one of the AFL's best endurance athletes and was clearly the highest ranked midfielder for average time on ground in 2020, playing an average of 95.4 per cent game time.
He welcomed the return to 20-minute quarters in 2021 and believes the reduction in rotations from 90 last season will give endurance athletes an edge.
"I wasn't a big fan of the reduction of the quarters for the season last year, whilst I totally understood the reasons why," Gaff said on Monday.
"I'm happy with the way it's gone, with a little bit of personal bias.
"You've got certain guys that are good endurance guys, and some guys are more burst players, like (Luke) Shuey, (Elliot) Yeo and (Tim) Kelly, who might need to go off a bit more.
"I might take a little bit of the slack with those guys so they can have maybe one or two rotations a quarter.
"But I still need to go off as well, especially when you've got a 30-degree day in Perth on a Saturday afternoon. It's not the easiest thing in the world."
Gaff hit the track last week after returning from his Christmas break in Victoria and being ordered into an unexpected two-week quarantine period, where he was restricted to fitness work on a bike.
He pushed through a painful first session last Wednesday and match simulation on Friday as he fought to get back up to speed quickly.
"I had a wattbike delivered, legally, into the house … and I had a couple of weights to use. I couldn't do any running and I couldn't do any kicking," Gaff said of his quarantine period.
"Kicking was probably the main thing coming back last week. If you don't do any kicking for two weeks, your quads and your hips can get pretty tight.
"I definitely felt the tiredness and the soreness last week … I could barely move after Wednesday's first session, (but) I enjoyed the weekend and took it easy, and I'm ready to go now."
The Eagles had a full group together on the track for the first time on Monday, with the final group of quarantined players cleared to join their teammates in all drills.
Ruckman Bailey Williams, recruit Alex Witherden, midfielder Xavier O'Neill and small forward Jamaine Jones all joined the main group.
Premiership forward Daniel Venables also took a significant step in his recovery from concussion, training with teammates after emerging from quarantine.
The forward, who was re-listed as a rookie in December, has not played in 20 months after he was knocked out in a collision with Demon Tim Smith's hip in round nine, 2019.
The Victorian will start a modified training program now he is back at the club, spending time working with recruit Zac Langdon and a trainer.
Star midfielder Elliot Yeo, who is building his training load as he recovers from osteitis pubis, did some kicking before doing his own running session away from the main group.
Captain Luke Shuey (calf) and forward Jake Waterman walked laps, while midfielders Brendon Ah Chee and Brayden Ainsworth ran on a separate oval.
Star defender Jeremy McGovern also completed his own running session.