Michael Rischitelli has overcome his hamstring issues from 2012 and is ready to play a big role for the Suns this year
AFTER months of uncertainty, Gold Coast's Michael Rischitelli is a relieved man, finally getting on top of a troublesome hamstring problem.
Rischitelli played with the niggle for more than half of last season, but was unable to pinpoint the exact injury.
Now he knows it's hamstring tendonitis and after some more specific treatment, completed a searching game simulation session with his Suns teammates at Metricon Stadium on Monday.
Rischitelli was a best and fairest winner at the Brisbane Lions in 2010 and finished third at the Suns' best and fairest in 2011 before going off the boil last year.
Carrying the injury on the quiet, a limited Rischitelli was often used as a tagger or defensive forward by coach Guy McKenna.
He averaged just 14 disposals per game for his 14 matches – down from an average of 24 over the previous two seasons.
Rischitelli suffered an ankle injury in April that cost him two games, but it was the hamstring injury he first sustained just weeks later that ultimately cut his season short.
The 27-year-old deputy vice-captain said it was a relief to be getting on top of the problem.
"It was a little bit frustrating but sometimes things happen like that. It's going well now which is good," Rischitelli said.
"I'd love to be out there every session, but it's been a bit different this pre-season. I've had to be a bit patient and do more things for my hamstring to get it right, strengthening and a lot of boxing."
Rischitelli had the hamstring iced after training as a precaution but moved well throughout the session.
He said despite missing a large chunk of the pre-season, he expected to be playing some matches in the NAB Cup.
"I've had a few seasons under my belt now which is good, so I didn't need to top-up too much," he said.
"You can do as much training as you want, but match fitness itself is a little bit different. You want to get in all the NAB Cups you can, hopefully [I'll] get in two or three.
"It will all depend on how I pull up, but my main objective is to get through some NAB Cup [games] and have the body feeling good, the mind feeling good and no doubt round one is the main objective for me."
Michael Rischitelli is a $322,000 midfielder in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 62.5 points in 2012. Register your AFL Fantasy team now.
Michael Whiting covers Gold Coast news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting