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Transformers: Which players have changed their body shape over summer?

Staff writers  February 24, 2016 7:01 AM

AFL 2015 Training - Blues on the Gold Coast

Levi Casboult has added plenty of muscle but dropped 3kg over the pre-season

Adelaide

Having emerged as one of his club's most important forwards over the past two seasons, Josh Jenkins enters season 2016 hoping to extend his recognition League-wide. On the face of it, Jenkins' change in body shape is subtle – at 106kg he's actually a kilogram lighter than he was last year. But there's no doubt he's improved his strength over the summer in a bid to improve his ability to hold on to contested grabs, as well as deal with a calibre of defender that continues to grow in line with his reputation. With fewer rotations available, Jenkins' lighter frame will also help him last longer and cover more ground. He's not one for numbers and judges his pre-season progress by how he feels in match conditions. - Harry Thring 

Brisbane

Second-year defender Harris Andrews has piled on an extra 6kg in the off-season. Andrews came to the Lions a little over 12 months ago and now with two pre-seasons in him has a totally different body shape. The 19-year-old noticeably stronger through the upper body, but just as impressive is the extra athleticism he's had around the field during the pre-season. Andrews had a sensational debut season last year, playing 19 games as a key defender and while he often likes to drift across to mark as the third man up, the extra strength will allow him to play key position as he gets older. Special mention should be made of running defender Tom Cutler, who continues to get stronger while not losing an ounce of speed. - Michael Whiting 

Carlton

Levi Casboult has dropped 3kg over the pre-season and is in much better shape to cope with the demands of a modern-day key forward who can take the occasional turn in the ruck. When he arrived at Carlton as a rookie in 2010 he was 103kg and last year he was officially listed as 105kg. Casboult displayed his new-look physique in the Blues’ opening NAB Challenge game against Hawthorn last Thursday. As was the case with most of his teammates last season Casboult was unable to run out games, and while it is early days he impressed with his ability to have an impact on more contests. Casboult, who missed the last four games of 2015 after injuring the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, has enjoyed the new training regime at Carlton this season, with an emphasis on intensity and high-speed running. – Howard Kotton

Collingwood

Few second-year players are deemed as crucial to their team's hopes as Darcy Moore, but the young forward/ruckman is literally rising to the challenge. Moore was surprised to learn that he is still growing at 20, telling The Age that last season he played at 198-199cms but has since shot up to 201cms. It's a significant development given Moore's importance to the Pies' big-man structure, both as a marking target working in tandem with spearhead Travis Cloke, and in providing energetic ruck relief for Brodie Grundy. The prized father-son selection put his extra height to good use – and allayed any concerns he would need time to adjust to his latest growth spurt – when he slotted four goals in an impressive performance in Collingwood's recent intraclub game. The high-leaping Moore has also maintained his remarkable agility and speed for his size, making him a most awkward proposition for opponents. – Ben Collins

Darcy Moore has added height and weight ahead of his second season. Picture: AFL Media

Essendon

Joe Daniher heads into his fourth season with a noticeably bigger frame, having added four kilograms over the pre-season. The key forward will again be the focal point for Essendon in attack, and another summer in the gym should hold the 21-year-old in good stead. Second-year players Jayden Laverde and Kyle Langford have also increased their physique to be closer to an AFL 'shape', while Jackson Merrett is a little heavier which should bode well as he steps up his inside game. Martin Gleeson continued to grow in height until last year which has meant he has taken a little longer to increase his body size, while exciting first-year midfielder Darcy Parish has also put on a couple of kilos and thrived in a professional environment in his first pre-season. - Callum Twomey 

Fremantle

Young midfielders Connor Blakely and Lachie Weller have both added weight in their second pre-seasons at the Dockers in order to become stronger contested players. Both men showed plenty of promise last year at WAFL level but found in their limited opportunities at AFL level that they needed to be stronger over the ball. The pair only added 2kg under the guidance of Dockers' sport science guru Jason Weber. They needed to strike a fine balance between adding size and maintaining their running capacity. Weller has also been working with new assistant coach Anthony Rock on body positioning and strength at stoppages. Both men are pushing for roles in the Dockers' midfield with the flexibility of moving through half-forward at times. - Alex Malcolm

Geelong

Tom Hawkins has lost weight in preparation for the increased demands likely to occur as a result of the interchange cap being reduced to 90. The power forward revealed he was working on his repeat efforts and power speed over the first 20 metres in a pre-season that has him primed for a big 2016. Hawkins is also getting married nine days before the season, so he should be completely transformed by the time Easter Monday's clash with Hawthorn rolls around.  – Peter Ryan

Tom Hawkins has aimed to boost his power and repeat efforts over summer. Picture: AFL Media

Gold Coast

Young midfielder Jesse Lonergan will enter the season significantly lighter after shedding 5kg during the off-season. Lonergan, 21, came to the Suns just over three years ago as a powerhouse midfielder that made his living by bulldozing through contests. But with the rotation cap to drop from 120 to 90, the Suns decided he needed to drop weight from his 91kg frame to help improve his fitness and allow him to get around the ground better. It's meant a change of diet for the Tasmanian, with the Suns essentially periodising his carbohydrate intake around heavy training sessions. The results speak for themselves as Lonergan has lost body fat but maintained lean muscle mass and kept his strength and power – elements that are so important to his game. If Sunday's opening NAB Challenge match is any indication, it's worked - Lonergan collected 23 disposals (16 contested) and had 10 clearances to be his team's best and cement himself as a best 22 player. – Michael Whiting

GWS

His first season at the Giants was solid but well below the standard that we've come to expect from Ryan Griffen, so the experienced midfielder worked tirelessly during in his time off and early in the pre-season to shed 5kg from his powerful frame. By his own admission, the former Western Bulldogs captain played overweight in 2015 and has trimmed down significantly with the help of the GWS dietician and conditioning staff. When he was in peak form at the Dogs, Griffen was one of the most explosive players in the game and hopes his new physique can help him get back to his dynamic best. The 29 year-old had 433 possessions last year – his lowest return in almost a decade – but has already spoken about feeling the positive differences between running around at 85kg instead of 90. - Adam Curley

A lighter, leaner Ryan Griffen is set for a big second year at the Giants. Picture: AFL Media

Hawthorn

Another soft-tissue injury has blighted Zac Webster's standout summer, but the small forward should still be a chance to debut this year once he recovers. Webster mightn't be the most familiar name on the fringes of Hawthorn's best 22, but the 20-year-old speedster had repeatedly been pumped up by fitness guru Andrew Russell and his teammates before he strained a quad in the warm-up before last Friday's NAB Challenge opener. It was the latest setback in a long line of leg injuries, but of some small comfort is that at least it wasn't another hamstring. Webster tore the muscle four times last year, prompting fitness staff to change his pre-season to mirror Cyril Rioli's carefully mapped out strengthening program. The combination of hill sprints, taxing endurance running beyond what players experience in games and weights worked wonders until Webster's latest setback, but the Hawks are backing him to bounce backn. – Travis King

Melbourne

Dean Terlich did not play a game in 2015 and spent this summer trying to change that. The 26-year-old dropped eight kilograms this pre-season, returning from his off-season break in impressive shape. The defender, who is in the final year of his contract at the Demons, followed his program meticulously and has given himself a chance at playing senior football this season. To reflect his improved fitness, Terlich, who finished third in Melbourne's best and fairest in 2013, ran a personal best time in the club's 3km time trial in November. His increased running power also allowed him to have more influence in match simulation drills. A minor ankle injury, sustained at training last Monday, meant he missed the club's intraclub hit-out on the Friday. It remains to be seen whether he has done enough to be selected in Melbourne's first-up NAB Challenge squad. But Terlich, who has played 35 matches for the Demons, has at least put himself in contention. – Ben Guthrie

North Melbourne

Majak Daw is set to spend more time in the ruck this season, with the Roos earmarking him as the No.1 back-up option for reigning best and fairest winner Todd Goldstein following Daniel Currie's departure to Gold Coast at the end of last season. Daw has dropped about 2kg this pre-season and has made steady progress in his bid to improve his running capacity, although he still has some way to go. Having played most of his AFL games to date as a forward, Daw has trained primarily with North's ruck group this summer, working alongside Goldstein and rookie Braydon Preuss. Daniel Wells and Drew Petrie are two other Roos who have dropped weight this pre-season, with the veterans each shedding about 5kg. Wells looks as streamlined as he has for some years as he seeks to put his recent injury woes behind him, while Petrie is keen to roam further up the ground at times this season. - Nick Bowen

Port Adelaide

Ollie Wines wouldn't want to get a whole lot bigger, but since his arrival at Alberton via pick No. 7 at the 2012 NAB Draft he's worked to transform body fat into lean muscle. That transformation has taken further shape over the pre-season, with the 21-year-old adding two kilograms to take him to 92kg. He's considerably more explosive though, and has significantly improved his running capacity in an effort to both adapt to fewer rotations and develop his outside game. Wines is one of the League's best winners of contested possessions and if he develops an elite outside game too, he'll be borderline unstoppable. - Harry Thring

Richmond

Despite being in rehab after he ruptured his ACL last April, Nathan Drummond made the biggest transformation at Richmond over the off-season. The second-year midfielder has trimmed down noticeably and achieved personal best body fat levels while still increasing his strength in the gym. "Being in rehab is no excuse for letting body composition go and Nathan lives that philosophy," Tigers physical performance manager Peter Burge said. "Most of his improvement was due to his approach to diet." Drummond added morning and afternoon cross training sessions to his program and continued his strength work and football touch sessions. He is still listed at 86kg this season, but his weight is better distributed. "This approach has put Nathan in a position to make a seamless transition back into football and will hopefully reduce his chances of injury as well as improving performance, which was at a high standard already pre-injury." - Nathan Schmook

St Kilda

Josh Bruce has gotten bigger and stronger this pre-season. The out-of-contract Saint has put on five kilograms according to the AFL Season Guide and the 23-year-old said he has been working hard in the gym. "[I've been] getting a little bit stronger in the contest without losing any running capabilities," Bruce said. While he has improved his strength, Bruce's endurance will be particularly important this year, as he will play spend time further up the ground, with 2014 No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin playing closer to goal. Bruce is a quality runner for a key-position player – he finished in the top-10 of the first time trial of St Kilda's pre-season, a 3km run around Albert Park Lake involving first-to fourth-year players. - Dinny Navaratnam

Josh Bruce has added 5kg to his frame after a breakout 2015 season. Picture: AFL Media

Sydney Swans

Fringe utility Dean Towers has started the season like he finished his last and looks like a player who is buoyed by a strong summer in the gym. Towers managed just 11 games in 2015, but importantly played the Swans' last three matches – two of them finals losses to Fremantle and North Melbourne – and was amongst the best on each occasion. The 25 year-old has added a kilo of muscle to his athletic build over the pre-season and starred in the opening NAB Challenge clash against Port Adelaide on Saturday with two goals and a super goal in the first half. Towers finished the 21-point win with 20 possessions and five marks playing across half-forward, and looks capable of grabbing a permanent spot in the Swans' best 22 this year. - Adam Curley

West Coast

There haven't been too many obvious physical transformations amongst the Eagles group. Second-year mid-size defender Jackson Nelson has added a little bit of size to his frame this pre-season. He is naturally lean and showed his talent as a running defender last year playing 11 games in his debut season. He has been able to do the full pre-season after being held back at times in his first year and has certainly added some upper body strength after arriving at the club at 81kg. This will give him the flexibility to play on some bigger forwards as well as fulfil his preferred running role at half-back. - Alex Malcolm

Western Bulldogs

When Bailey Dale first arrived at Whitten Oval after being drafted in 2014, the Edithvale-Aspendale product weighed just 70kg. But 18 months on and 10 senior games later, the 19-year-old now tips the scales at around 78kg. The added muscle complements his speed, agility and elite kicking skills. "I put on 4kg last year and another four this year, so it's been really good for me," Dale told AFL.com.au. "The fitness and conditioning staff have really looked after me by building up my body without losing any running capacity." And with Luke Beveridge demanding versatility from his charges, Dale's newfound definition will help him drift off the wing and win the footy at the coalface. "Competing against the bigger bodies is definitely harder than junior footy but I'm definitely trying to improve that part of my game with midfield coaches Joel Corey and Steven King." – Ryan Davidson