Both teams returned to training on Monday in preparation for the 2018-19 season, beginning with a range of standardised tests to assess physical and mental conditioning.

Redbacks bowler Nick Winter set the pace in a 2km time trial of the Adelaide Uni Loop ahead of young paceman David Grant and newly-contracted seamer Elliot Opie.

Redbacks off and running

Katelyn Pope led the way in the Scorpions’ trial, edging out allrounder Tahlia McGrath and Kensington youngster Eliza Doddridge.

Winter said the opening day had set a strong foundation for both squads to build towards next season.

“We’ve been waiting for the (time trial) for a while now and it obviously kicks off the season,” Winter said.

“I think there were a few ‘PBs’ across the board, so it was a really positive start to the season.

“We’ve almost had a ‘pre pre-season’. We’ve all been training really hard and getting together in little groups and pushing our running and our weights so that we’re ready for the season.”

Winter, who also took out last year’s time trial, said a healthy competitiveness and desire to improve would continue to drive standards on the training track.

“I pride myself on trying to be at the front and I know there’s also a few other boys like David Grant and Harry Nielsen who are always up the front with me,” he said.

“It’s good that we challenge each other and that obviously gets us to run even faster.

“Day one is always notoriously quite tough with the ‘2ker’ and other tests. But I think it’s been a couple of months now since we finished so overall the boys are pretty keen to get underway.”

SACA Strength and Conditioning coach Anthony Gallomarino praised both squads’ commitment over the offseason.

“The players returned in great condition which was really pleasing,” he said.

“It gives us a strong foundation to really attack pre-season and improve across all areas”

“There’s a few new faces which always adds energy and enthusiasm. It’s a positive start.”

Several Redbacks were notable absentees on the opening day of training.

Captain Travis Head, seamer Kane Richardson and wicketkeeper Alex Carey are preparing for Australia’s upcoming one-day series against England, while Jake Weatherald, Lloyd Pope and Michael Cormack are working with the National Performance Squad at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.

Joe Mennie, Callum Ferguson and Adam Zampa are among those currently playing at county or club level in the UK.

Daniel Worrall’s stint with Gloucestershire was cut short due to a foot injury, while fellow bowler Chadd Sayers is recovering after minor knee surgery.

Scorpions bowlers Megan Schutt and Amanda Wellington are also on national duties.

Sayers said it was pleasing to see so many South Australian players taking their game abroad.

“It’s great for our squad, isn’t it?” he said.

“You see a number of them over there playing for Australia and even playing county cricket. Ferguson’s last couple of knocks have been outstanding.

“They’re living our brand and showing what respect the Redbacks are gaining now.

“Hopefully with the young group we’ve got at the moment and the coaching staff behind us, we’ll have a lot more players playing for Australia.”

Chadd Sayers speaks on day one of pre-season training