HAYDEN Ballantyne may have to refine his tackling technique to avoid breaking his jaw again but he says he's not sure how he will do it. 

The feisty Fremantle small forward, who was named All Australian for the first time in 2014, broke his jaw twice last season, including in the Dockers' qualifying final loss to the Sydney Swans.

Ballantyne suffered the injury while tackling Swans defender Ted Richards. 

He had surgery to repair the fracture and missed the semi-final loss to Port Adelaide, which ended the Dockers' season. Ballantyne also missed the International Rules test in Perth against Ireland, which he was keen to play in. 

Ballantyne is back in full contact training and has not missed any of the Dockers' pre-season but he said coach Ross Lyon had discussed his tackling technique with him to avoid getting hurt in the future.

"Ross spoke to me about trying to protect myself a little bit more, not leading head first," Ballantyne said. 

"It's hard sometimes because you're not allowed to bump so you have to go in and tackle and being a bit shorter than most other guys, I'm at shoulder height to a lot of players, so I've got to be a bit careful.

"I don't know how I'm going to do it but I'll have to work on it and try and stop breaking my jaw."

Ballantyne is coming off his best season at AFL level, having kicked 49 goals in 20 matches including an equal career-best haul of six against Richmond in round 13. 

The 27-year-old is integral to the Dockers' success. Of the 31 matches in his 106-game career he's kicked three goals or more, the Dockers have won 30. The only loss came in his second game in 2009, when the Dockers finished 14th. 

Ballantyne said maintaining his form of 2014 is simply a case of maintaining his work ethic.

"(I'll) just do the exact same things," Ballantyne said.

"Keep the same methods, the same processes and try and improve. I can always try and get fitter and stronger just like everyone else so I'll be working just as hard as anyone else."

Ballantyne said he had noticed a lift in the intensity of pre-season training this summer after his coach put the Fremantle players on notice in the off-season break. 

"Each year it's got a bit more intense," Ballantyne said.  

"Jason Weber, our head fitness instructor, he's lifted the intensity on us and it's hurting a bit at training but we're all going to be fitter for it so we're loving it."
The Dockers will have one of the oldest lists in the AFL in 2015 but Ballantyne believes age is merely a state of mind.  

"You're only as old as you act or you feel," Ballantyne said. 

"So I'm feeling good. I know Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands are feeling good. 

"Pav nearly ran a PB in his 3km time trial so age is just a number. That's the way most of us see it."