WEST Coast recruit Nathan Vardy says he feels in career-best shape after an uninterrupted first pre-season in Perth.
Vardy made just 25 appearances in seven years at Geelong owing to rotten luck with injury.
However the versatile 199cm tall is relishing a fresh start out west and – after acclimatising to Perth's searing summer heat – has so far navigated pre-season without any issues.
"I got through last year pretty unscathed – I had a few form issues – but so far in this pre-season the worst thing I've had is probably chafe," Vardy told westcoasteagles.com.au.
"I haven't done too many pre-seasons since I've been in the system, so to go to this stage of the year unscathed and be running pretty well, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at."
Vardy's injury history includes four hip operations at the Cats plus a ruptured ACL, which wiped out his 2014 campaign.
"I haven't had too many injuries as such," he said. "It's just the ones that I've had, they've stuck around for a while and I've missed a big chunk of footy."
Despite his struggles to consistently get on the park, Vardy was chased by both Port Adelaide and the Eagles during last year's NAB AFL Trade Period.
In the end, the chance to spend more time in the ruck, working with midfield coach Dean Cox and eventually alongside Nic Naitanui, were major selling points for him to pick West Coast.
If he can stay fit, the talented 25-year-old could be a bargain-priced recruit, with the Eagles only giving up pick 72 to the Cats.
And, entering what should be the prime of his career, opportunity knocks for Vardy to cement a spot while Naitanui and Scott Lycett are on the comeback trail from long-term knee injuries.
"I think with Vards, his ability to play forward and take a real strong clunk and have an impact up there [is valuable], but also his athleticism around the ball [is an asset]," Cox said.
"If he can get his body right and maintain that, he's got some really good upside. He is a jumping player, he moves around the ground really well.
"His body's handling it (pre-season), but it is a long season and hopefully it stands up."