Running machine Molly McDonald has claimed top honours at St Kilda’s pre-season time trial over the weekend, crossing the finish line as one of 12 players to improve upon last year’s times.

Twenty-four Saints took part in the Saturday morning test — including all four of the club’s off-season recruits — at G.R. Bricker Reserve, with McDonald leading the pack from start to finish in what was her first time trial in over two years due to injury.

Podium finishers Tyanna Smith and Olivia Vesely also were up from last year’s times as they look to further their side’s midfield potency, however it was J’Noemi Anderson who was the most prolific improver with 39 seconds shaved off of her 2023 run. 

Darcy Guttridge and reigning Best & Fairest Jaimee Lambert each bettered their runs by 24 seconds, while the Saints as a whole sliced six seconds off their collective average time.

“It’s a huge kudos to the girls for doing their off-season programs. You can see they’ve put the work in which is a real positive,” McDonald told

“The times (posted) are in line with the way we want to play this year and shows how fit we are, which comes into our on-field performances down the track. 

“Nearing peak physical performance coming into pre-season is really great and that will flow on from every training session; we’re now going to be able to hit higher numbers and our running ability will flow into our game.”

Similar to last year, the Saints were put through their paces by AFLW High Performance Manager Taylah Jack with three 800 metre efforts post-time trial, with almost two-thirds of the list charting their best times in the last sprint.

“It definitely was a bit of a struggle, but some of the girls were hitting within five seconds (of their fastest times) for those repeat 800s, so that shows we are able to work under fatigue,” McDonald said.

“It means we’re able to run out games for a bit longer and be able to work under duress, which is a really good factor for what we want to work towards.

“It’s nice to feel as if you’ve put the off-season running towards something and the hard work has paid off.”