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Less is more for lighter Jacobs

Hamish McIntosh of the Cats and Sam Jacobs of the Crows compete in a ruck contest during the 2014 AFL round 01 match between the Geelong Cats and the Adelaide Crows at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on March 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Sam Jacobs was back to his best in Adelaide's round one loss to Geelong
I'm in a really good position to be able to compete because I've got more intensity and more energy
Sam Jacobs
A GRUELING summer in which he shed over three kilograms is already paying off for Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs.

Crushing injuries to key players made the going exceptionally tough for Jacobs last year, as he was forced to single-handedly carry the Crows' ruck burden for much of the season.

The 25-year-old's output was down compared to a stellar 2012 that so nearly saw him awarded All Australian honours.
But if his brilliant opening performance against Geelong in round one was anything to go by, Jacobs is returning to his peak.

He was the Crows' best in their 38-point loss, collecting 19 disposals, taking eight marks, amassing 26 hit-outs and booting a goal.

It's a tremendous sign given that in 2012 he averaged 13 disposals, four marks, 31 hit-outs and well under a goal per game. 

Jacobs told his lighter frame allowed him to work harder around the ground and, consequently, find more of the ball.

"I definitely felt better towards the end of the game, I was just able to cover more of the ground and just generally felt a bit sharper," Jacobs said.

"I felt springier at centre bounces as well. I'm probably not as strong as what I was last year, but I'm in a really good position to be able to compete because I've got more intensity and more energy.

"Against two blokes who took me back to our defensive goal square a lot, even though I was getting dragged away I was still able to get to dangerous spots.

"There has only been one game, but I did feel confident."

Jacobs said he also felt the benefit of playing alongside a teammate capable of spells in the ruck.

Jacobs was forced to handle nearly every ruck contest late last season, but with James Podsiadly deep in attack and Shaun McKernan also selected against the Cats in round one, he wasn't required for forward-50 stoppages at all.

"It was good having Shaun McKernan back in the team because late last year, the last six rounds Andy Otten was our next-tallest player at 192cm," he said.

"I did every centre bounce for the last six weeks.

"My added fitness, plus having another big body in the team really helps."

On Saturday, Jacobs will continue his rivalry with Port Adelaide ruckman Matthew Lobbe.

The Power's No. 1 big man was victorious in both Showdowns last year, even though their personal duels ended on relatively even terms.

Jacobs said he relished the challenge of facing his cross-town competitor, and was glad Lobbe had begun winning outside praise for his ability.

"I've got a lot of respect for Matty, I think he's a great competitor and it's good that he's starting to get a bit of recognition as a player that works really hard," he said.

"I've met him a few times and he's a great fella too.

"Because we're our sides' main ruckmen, we do spend a lot of time with each other. It's a great rivalry, I reckon.

"It's almost a game inside a game – I'm looking forward to having another good battle with him."