NAT FYFE says he is in the best off-season condition of his career as he prepares to represent Australia in the Virgin Australia International Rules Series against Ireland next Saturday.
The Fremantle star is coming off a career-best season where he was named the AFL Players' Association MVP and polled 25 Brownlow votes despite missing four games due to suspension.
Fyfe is yet to return to pre-season training with his club, but despite spending the last month in Europe the 23-year-old believes he is in tip-top shape as he prepares to represent his country for the first time.
"I'm probably in the best off-season fitness I've been in my career," Fyfe said.
"I've had a program set by our (Fremantle's) strength and conditioning staff and they've liaised with Darren Burgess who is working with the International Rules team.
"I've been training really hard while I'm away and I'm ready to play."
Fyfe said he had always been jealous of his friend Aaron Zalewski, who plays hockey for Australia.
"I have always been really interested and excited in possibly representing Australia in a game that I love playing," Fyfe said.
"This International Rules Series opens up a whole new challenge - a round ball, slightly different rules.
"It really throws up a whole new set of challenges at me and I have been really excited to play."
Fyfe received his Australian jumper at Patersons Stadium on Tuesday along with West Coast star Nic Naitanui.
The 2012 All Australian ruckman has had his last two pre-seasons plagued by groin issues but he said after a solid month of running he was excited by the opportunity to represent his country.
"I was always going to assess and see how I felt after my break, after I'd completed the month or so of running in the off-season," Naitanui said.
"If I came back in good nick and feeling good I'd put my hand up and say yes."
More importantly, Eagles coach Adam Simpson has given Naitanui his blessing to play.
"Simmo was involved in it a while ago and he knows how much it means to players and he was really respectful of that and said just to go out there and take the opportunity," Naitanui said.
Both players said they had been practicing diligently with the round ball to get their skills up to scratch.
Naitanui had been kicking it at his local park, while Fyfe had been kicking the ball all around Europe.Nic Naitanui showing Nat Fyfe how it's done. Picture: Getty Images
"I have just been having a kick at home and down at the local park," Naitanui said.
"Everyone is looking at me thinking I was probably going to convert and go to soccer or some other stupid game."
Australia's assistant coach Tadhg Kennelly will advise the group on the best ways to kick the ball once the team enters camp in Sydney on Sunday.
The squad will spend three days in Sydney before flying to Perth to prepare for the match at Patersons Stadium.
Fyfe said the players had received instructions on how the team wanted to defend against the Irish but the players were yet to receive any defined individual roles for the hybrid game.
"We did receive some instructional emails," Fyfe said.
"Basically a little bit on how we want to play and how we want to defend and that sort of goes into a little bit how we want to move the ball but not specifically what each of our roles is."
Naitanui said he couldn't wait to get into camp and train alongside with the elite players in the AFL.
"You go through the list, they are all superstars in there," Naitanui said.
"The guy wearing No.7 (Fyfe), Harry Taylor, I have always admired. Guys like (Joel) Selwood, (Scott) Pendlebury, Paddy Dangerfield, I would like to spend a week with him and see how he goes about his footy and Fyfe as well.
"There are a lot of guys out there that I am really looking forward to playing with."
The Australian squad is: Grant Birchall (Hawthorn), Travis Boak (Port Adelaide), Luke Bruest (Hawthorn), Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide), Dustin Fletcher (Essendon), Nat Fyfe (Fremantle), Brendon Goddard (Essendon), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Brent Harvey (North Melbourne), Luke Hodge (Hawthorn), Kieren Jack (Sydney Swans), Steve Johnson (Geelong), Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney Swans), Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn), Leigh Montagna (St Kilda), Nic Naitanui (West Coast), Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda), Tom Rockliff (Brisbane Lions), Joel Selwood (Geelong), Brodie Smith (Adelaide), Nick Smith (Sydney Swans), Harry Taylor (Geelong), Jobe Watson (Essendon) and Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide). Coach: Alastair Clarkson. Assistant coaches: Tadhg Kennelly, Ross Lyon, Chris Scott.