FIGHTING fit and with no lingering effects from a neck fracture that ended his 2014 season, forward Tom Lynch can't wait for Adelaide's opening NAB Challenge clash against North Melbourne on Sunday.
Lynch will fly with his teammates to Port Lincoln on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula on Saturday morning for his first hit-out since suffering the frightening injury against the Brisbane Lions in round 20 last year.
It was an incident that filled every fan of the game with dread; the 24-year-old ducked into a tackle and the impact compressed his neck violently.
In fact, 2014 was a year to forget for Lynch – bookended by a dislocated shoulder and the neck fracture, with a broken jaw in between.
Although last year was more or less a write off, he's trained without mishap all summer and now just wants to play.
"I'm 100 per cent fine. Last year was a little bit unfortunate and very disappointing in how it ended but as I said, I'm pumped that I got a full pre-season," Lynch said.
"I've moved on now and I'm lucky that the recovery was quick and it wasn't too serious in the end.
"I'm looking forward to getting out there this weekend and launching into the year."
Adelaide's decision to avoid internal trial games means the club's three NAB Challenge games are the players' only opportunities to push their cases for round one selection.
At his best, Lynch would be one of the first players selected on the Crows' team sheet; his ability to push hard up the ground, converting defence into attack, and hit the scoreboard when given the chance is crucial.
But he said his place in the side was as unstable as anyone's – which was exactly the way he liked it.
"Everyone's challenging for spots and especially with a new coach, everyone wants to impress and put their best foot forward," he said.
"A lot of blokes are putting their hands up for spots and we can really only play 22 when round one comes along so these three games are really important.
"I've always felt I've been challenged and that I've got to challenge others to get that spot – I've never really felt comfortable with my spot in the side.
"That's going to be a strength of mine – that I've always got to perform to stay in the side – because otherwise you get complacent."
Lynch was looking forward to seeing how draftees Harrison Wigg and Keenan Ramsey fared against the Kangaroos.
The Crows are expected to field several youngsters against the Kangaroos – Wigg and Ramsey included.
The left-footed Wigg arrived at West Lakes with a reputation as one of the best kicks in his draft class.
"Just off the top of my head, those guys have been really impressive," Lynch said.
"[Wigg's] a nice kick – I think he and 'Jaenschy' (Matthew Jaench) are into each other about who's got a better kick.
"He's very nice to lead to, I'll tell you that."
Tom Lynch is a $327,000 forward in NAB AFL Fantasy this year. Create and fill your AFL Fantasy Classic league by March 2 to win a free AFL Live pass.