K rock Football

Tsitas still in mix at Suns

James Tsitas in action for Geelong’s VFL team. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

JAMES Tsitas’ remains in the mix to become the third Grovedale product to find himself on an AFL list heading into the 2022 season alive after rejoining Gold Coast training following the Christmas break.

The former Geelong VFL captain, who shared the Magarey Medal as SANFL best-and-fairest last year, has returned to Queensland as he fights for the vacant spot on their list as part of the Supplementary Selection Period.

Tsitas is one of a handful of players, along with former Collingwood and St Kilda midfielder Nathan Freeman, that the Suns are looking at.

He took part in a 2km time-trial on Saturday before returning to on-ground training on Tuesday.

“I’m just looking to put my best foot forward,” the 26-year-old told Adelaide radio station FiveAA on Tuesday.

“I feel strong and blessed to have this opportunity.”

If Tsitas was to get the nod from the Suns, he would join Mitch Knevitt and Cooper Whyte, who were both drafted by Geelong, in receiving an AFL opportunity this off-season.

It would also cap an incredible two years for Tsitas.

Signed with Williamstown for the 2020 season, he headed across the South Australian border to link up with Woodville-West Torrens in the middle of that year when it became apparent the VFL season was unlikely to go ahead due to the impact of COVID-19.

“(There’s) a lot of uncertainty that COVID has brought, but I always thought it would be a blessing in disguise,” Tsitas.

“To finish with two premierships and a Magarey (Medal), it’s been a good couple of years.

“Now, getting this opportunity up here at the Gold Coast, it’s been good so far.”

Tsitas returned home to Geelong over Christmas but was keen to get to the Gold Coast as soon as possible.

“It was good to see everyone, but with COVID running rampant (and) with this opportunity in front of me … I just didn’t want to test positive and then miss out on the opportunity,” he said.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking times. Plus, you’ve got Christmas and all these sorts of things,

“You catch up with mates, and you might have one too many drinks, and you’re just like, ‘I need to be training; I need to be getting myself fit’.”

The holder of a Masters Degree in Exercise Science, Tsitas has maintained his fitness business while based on the Gold Coast by using the time difference between Victoria (one hour in front) and South Australia (30 mins in front) to good effect.

“Monday morning is a 4:30 start,” he said. “I get up, run a couple of classes.

“I’ve got a couple more tonight. We had an early finish today – about 12:00pm.

“There might have to be some changes here, there and everywhere.

“But this week, we’ve been unaffected, which has been good. The clients are loving it.”

Twitter: @tom_king79