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Keeping the stars on track

Simon Conway  September 20, 2017 5:43 PM

BTV: SKINS Injury Update - Sept 19 With High Performance Manager, Justin Crow.

It was a challenge never before seen in the AFL - integrating ten returning players back into the training program after a year away from the Club.

There were fears of soft tissue injuries and extra caution throughout the early stages of the pre-season.

But the final outcome saw each of the returning players feature in at least 17 games at both AFL and VFL level.

Dyson Heppell – 23 games

Michael Hurley - 21 games

Jobe Watson - 20 games

Cale Hooker – 20 games

Travis Colyer – 22 games

Tom Bellchambers – 14 games and 5 VFL

Ben Howlett – 7 games and 10 VFL

Heath Hocking – 2 games and 16 VFL

Brent Stanton – 7 games and 13 VFL

David Myers – 15 games and 4 VFL

Travis Colyer hadn’t played more than 11 games in an AFL season until this year, while Michael Hurley and Dyson Heppell enjoyed their best result for games played in a single season.

Jobe Watson only missed games when the Club opted to rest him and apart from a finger injury during the pre-season to David Myers, no returning player missed an extended period.

“Our Performance Coaches and our Conditioning staff here treated them all as individuals and did a really good job in tailoring their programs to build them up to play a good season,” High Performance Manager Justin Crow said.

“We were really happy with the result we got.

“Generally across that group of returning players we gave them a little rest when they needed it – Jobe needed the occasional spell – but we treated them all as their own person, which we do for everyone on the list, and that approach seems to have been effective.”

The entire playing group will have a few weeks off before the pre-season begins in November.

Throughout their break players will be expected to maintain their fitness levels ahead of their return to the Club later in the year.

“There is a short period for regeneration but very quickly players are working on their own individual performance objectives,” Crow said.

“Certain players will be working on their speed, some will be working on their endurance, we’ll have some players focusing very early on getting bigger and stronger … so individually tailored off-season programs are the way that we’re doing it. 

“Our Performance Coaches - Des O’Sullivan, Paul Turk, Jesse Campisi - have put a lot of detail and work into these programs and have sat with players to make sure they understand them.

“We’re really excited about how players are going to return for us and be ready to go for day one of the pre-season, we’ll get stuck straight into some good training."