ADELAIDE captain Nathan van Berlo has emphatically announced he is over the Achilles injury that wrecked his 2014 season by sprinting to victory in both of the Crows' 2km time trials on Monday.
On the first day back at training for the Crows' full squad under new coach Phil Walsh, the skipper made an impressive return to action by winning the first time trial ahead of tagger Sam Kerridge – who sat out the second race.
The 28-year-old then led home Rory Sloane and David Mackay for back-to-back victories at the Adelaide University loop circuit.
Van Berlo, who didn't play a game last season after he ruptured his Achilles in a freak training accident in January, said it would take up to 12 months for the injury to fully heal but he feels in top shape.
"Obviously I didn't have the niggles and soreness from playing games last year, so I was able to get a bit of work in over the off-season as well as continuing to condition my Achilles and make sure that's holding up well," he said.
"It's getting there. I'd be able to play footy, there's no question about that now."
Van Berlo has played 182 games since being recruited from West Perth with pick No.24 in the 2004 NAB AFL Draft and has captained the Crows since 2011.
Star midfielders Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane stepped into the leadership breach in his absence last season and van Berlo said he was yet to have any discussions with Walsh about continuing in the position.
"I've always said and I will continue to say that I'm going to do what's best for the footy club," he said.
"If it's the best interests of the footy club that I'm the man to do the job, then we'll talk about that down the track.
"But for now, for me personally and for the rest of the group, I think it's about just getting stuck into training and trying to impress the new coach and get 2015 underway."
Adelaide will be gunning to play finals for the first time since 2012 next season and van Berlo admitted the Crows' on-field performance would likely play a role in keeping some of the club's biggest stars at West Lakes beyond next year.
Dangerfield, Sloane and key forward Taylor Walker all fall out of contract at the end of next season.
While Sloane has signalled his intention to stay, Dangerfield and Walker are set to attract plenty of attention from rival clubs.
"Most of your list would always look at where the group's at and where they are moving forward because everyone wants to be a part of success," van Berlo said.
"We're probably no different to any other club – we might have a few extra names or bigger names up out of contract next year.
"I'll be brutally honest and say I'm going to back in where the club's at, where we're going and in 12 months time, I'd be very surprised if those guys weren't hanging around.
"Knowing the sort of characters that they are and the amount of investment they put into this playing group, I've got every faith that they'll be hanging around."