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Slimming Sam ready to cover more ground

Sam Jacobs of the Crows poses for a photo during the 2014 Adelaide Crows portrait session on February 18, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)(Editor's Note: A digital filter has been applied to this image)
A svelt Sam Jacobs is ready to launch into 2014
BALANCE is the key word for Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs, who's eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see how his lighter frame responds to four quarters of football.
 
Jacobs was unlucky to be overlooked for All Australian honours in 2012, but wasn't able to live up to that form last year.
 
This pre-season he has lost 3-4kg as a consequence of the club's shift in focus from strength to endurance.
 
The 25-year-old hoped a slimmer body would enable him to cover the ground easier just as long as it didn't mean other ruckmen would be able to outmuscle him.
 
"I've lightened up a bit, I'm probably three or four kilos lighter, obviously the game's getting quicker and quicker now so you sort of have to have that capacity to run," Jacobs said.
 
"Last year I was doing four, five weights sessions a week, this year it's gone back to two or three - we're doing a lot more running this year.
 
"That's one thing I'm excited about is to see whether I've hit the right balance of slimming up but not giving away too much strength.
 
"By the end of pre-season I was putting out ... some pretty good numbers. It'll be interesting to see how it helps my game coming into the real stuff."
 
Shouldering the ruck duties for much of last season, the underperformance of Adelaide's midfield was often added to Jacobs' responsibilities.
 
But statistically speaking, the former Carlton big man wasn't far off his electrifying 2012 season.
 
He finished the 2013 season with 622 hit-outs, the third highest in the League.
 
"I did cop a fair bit of criticism…I was pretty proud of the way I finished the year off, I thought I really tried to grind something out of it rather than just let it go to nothing," he said.
 
"I was still third in the League in hit-outs and hit-outs to advantage but when you have a great year before, everything's judged on that.
 
"I learnt a lot about being a good AFL footballer in terms of preparation and consistency and things like that. I've had a really good pre-season, I've been really happy with how it went.
 
"I've been ready for probably a month now, ready to play."
 
Jacobs also hopes he can strike the right balance between time spent in the ruck and up forward.
 
He'd like to spend up to 80 per cent of his game in the ruck and then drift forward into an attack.
 
With the return from injury of Josh Jenkins, the imminent return of Taylor Walker, and the arrival of James Podisadly and Eddie Betts, Jacobs said the Crows were ready to make an assault on the top eight.
 
"Our forward line looks really dangerous now; we were [sixth] in inside 50s last year, we were able to get the ball in there but we weren't able to have the effectiveness," he said.
 
"That's one thing we've definitely improved on."
 
Twitter: @AFL_Harry