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JJ stepping it up after off-season hip surgery

Jason Johannisen is back on track after off-season hip surgery - AFL,Western Bulldogs,Jason Johannisen
Jason Johannisen is back on track after off-season hip surgery

WESTERN Bulldogs gamechanger Jason Johannisen has started 2019 back with the main group after recovering from off-season hip surgery.

The speedy utility was restricted to rehab prior to Christmas but eased his way back into main training on Friday and plans to step it up further in the coming weeks.

"It was a pretty smooth procedure. I've graduated out of the rehab group now," Johannisen told the club's website.

"The work from the medical and rehab staff has got me to where I am today.

"I'm just really looking forward to getting a good start in the JLT (Community Series) and playing some good footy."

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The Bulldogs' first session back after Christmas on Friday had a mixture of gameplay scenario drills and repeat running with the club to build into the pre-season games starting on March 3 against Gold Coast in Mackay.

Johannisen is set to continue his role in the Bulldogs' leadership group this season, a responsibility he is embracing.

The 2016 Norm Smith medallist was named to the club's leadership group for the first time last season and his standing within the club and the AFL has risen markedly over the last few seasons.

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"Last year was a learning curve – just growing as a leader," Johannisen said.

"I know where I stand, and my strong points, so I can try to set the standards at training, use my voice and use my experience."

Johannisen has also tipped recruits Sam Lloyd (Richmond) and Taylor Duryea (Hawthorn) to make an impact at the Dogs in 2019, having been impressed by Lloyd's workrate in matchplay and Duryea's ownership of the backline.