PORT Adelaide young gun Zak Butters had an impressive first season with the Power, but knew he needed to do more to avoid the "second-year blues".
The 19-year-old turned to the club's reigning best and fairest Travis Boak – renowned for his rigourous off-season fitness regime – for advice.
"He said, 'Get your running program done to a tee and do it with some real heat and put some intensity into it because you're by yourself in the off-season'," Butters told AFL.com.au.
"It's good to have him to lean off.
"He said he never started as a freak fitness guy, he's done pre-seasons every year to get that extra one or two per cent that adds up."
So, Butters ran. And ran. Often solo at his junior athletics track at Bacchus Marsh, about 50km west of Melbourne.
"I've worked really hard on my running in the off-season," he said.
"It's pretty important in the high half-forward role, you've got to get up and back.
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"I felt last year I was able to get up quite easily, but then getting back was sometimes a hassle.
"I worked on my running and covered the ground with more confidence and now I've got the ability to get it done."
The results have been there for all to see on the track.
Butters has been a standout for the Power this summer at Alberton Oval, especially in match simulation when his competitiveness and pressure are on show.
"Being a little bloke, small forward, you've got to be willing to do the hard work," he said.
"I like zipping around and hitting things at speed.
"That's how I've always played my juniors and transitioned into the AFL."
The 12th overall pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, Butters played 19 games last year, but was hampered by a dislocated shoulder and cracked sternum late in the season.
He had a shoulder operation in September and returned to full training before the Christmas break.
While half-forward will remain his primary position, Butters will also get time in the midfield this year.
"It's good to mix it up and get involved around the ball," he said.
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"Connor and I can add a bit of speed to that midfield and it's good to give (Powell-Pepper) a chop out and give him a look at the high half-forward role.
"I've got a bit to show the team in there so it's just about when I'm in there, being a consistent teammate and playing my role."
Part of an exciting young core alongside Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma, Butters knows he's got room for improvement.
"I'm satisfied (with last year), but I'm keen to back it up and not have any second-year blues," he said.
"I think I died off towards the last month of the season (when he was dropped).
"I'm just looking to be a consistent player in my role in the forward line and hopefully get a full season of footy under my belt and perform on a more consistent basis, instead of just showing snippets."