Coach Ange Postecoglou has got right down to business, putting his Socceroos squad through a tough first hit-out as on-field preparations for the World Cup began on Friday.
The majority of the squad that have so far assembled on the NSW Central Coast were put through an intense 70-minute session at Central Coast Stadium in their first session since the preliminary squad was announced on Wednesday.
Central defender Curtis Good was restricted to just walking laps with physio Les Gelis as he continues his recovery from a hip flexor injury that has kept him out of action for the last two months.
Adam Sarota also trained away from the main group, on a modified program after an injury-disrupted campaign at FC Utrecht in the Netherlands.
With only 14 players so far in camp – the majority of which finished their domestic campaigns a few weeks ago – the session was designed to begin lifting fitness levels.
It was particularly important for the likes of Tom Rogic, Mark Milligan, Adam Taggart, Josh Brillante and James Troisi to get back into the swing of things after a few weeks off since the end of the Hyundai A-League season.
Following a light warm-up, assistant coach Ante Millicic put the squad through some ball-work drills before a series of gut-busting sprints completed the session.
With this being the first step for many of the players to try an impress Postecoglou to make the final squad, there appeared to be a few nerves among some of the players trying to put their best foot forward.
"I want to show my enthusiasm and show I want to be here," midfielder Massimo Luongo said before training.
"On the pitch I'm sure (Postecoglou) knows what type of player I am. I just want to be myself and hopefully it works out.
"I'm not going to do anything amazing, or try and show off or anything, I just take it as if I'm training normally and playing normally and if the gaffer likes me, he likes me.
"Everyone's here to impress and get their fitness for the World Cup. Everyone knows what to do to impress and get themselves on that plane."
Before beginning their first session of the camp, the players were given the morning off to get around and check out Terrigal.
A few decided to go for a walk, while some took the chance to get in a swim in the surf.
Another five players, including New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill and youngster Bailey Wright, are expected to join the squad on the coast in the next couple of days.
The players who have matches in Europe and Asia this weekend are likely to link up with the squad once Ange’s men head back to Sydney.
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Socceroos vs South Africa, presented by NAB
Monday 26 May 2014
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
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