"The whole group has come back in pretty reasonable shape, which is pleasing," he said.
"No one really stopped, we gave everyone a pre-season program, so they all continued straight through really, they may have had a week off."
The professionalism of the Ovens and Murray Football League is deservedly praised, but Almond maintains it's no different to the late 90s.
"That's not new, we were doing it 25 years ago at 'Yarra', you'd have a week off and then all the boys would be doing some fitness, you just didn't hear about it," he revealed.
"If you're far dinkum about your footy at any level, you just do it.
"People say, 'gee, training has started early', but it hasn't, you just might be doing more structured training than what you ever did.
"Obviously you need to be fit to play footy, but people who generally like their fitness, they do it all year round anyway."
Raiders will be confident of breaking a round one drought against Lavington next year.
The club hasn't won its first game since a 20-point effort against Wangaratta in 2018, although to be fair it's played a finals-bound team every year since.