HAWTHORN forward Jarryd Roughead says he is primed for a strong finish to the season, having been freed of the ruck burden that wore him down towards the end of 2012.
With Max Bailey and David Hale taking care of tap-out duties, Roughead has enjoyed a sensational year for the Hawks, booting 50 goals to emerge as a contender to win his first Coleman Medal, club best and fairest and All Australian selection.
Admitting he was "cooked" during last year's finals series after enduring a heavy workload throughout the home and away rounds, Roughead is confident there won't be a repeat.
"I'm definitely recovering a lot better this year from games," the No.15 ranked player in the Official AFL Player Ratings told AFL.com.au this week.
"Last year, I was playing in the ruck for a fair bit of each game, and that is taxing.
"You're bumping bodies with blokes that are 10kg heavier, and trying to run all over the ground.
"I'm feeling a lot better now than I was last year, it's fair to say."
Roughead agreed his 2013 season had so far eclipsed 2008, when he kicked 75 goals in a premiership team, as his best to date.
"This year has been my most consistent, for sure," he said.
"In 2008 it was pretty good because we won the flag and I contributed to that, but in terms of output, my possessions are up this year, and I'm just in the game more."
Like every Hawk who experienced the disappointment of last year's 10-point Grand Final loss to the Sydney Swans, the 26-year-old is eager to atone.
Although his comeback from a ruptured Achilles last year was outstanding, his 2012 season is somewhat unfairly remembered for what happened in September.
"If we had won the flag it would be a totally different story," Roughead said.
"It would have been a good story of coming back from an Achilles and winning a flag.
"You fall 10 points short, and you end up being told, or you just know, you were probably cooked.
"But you're going to play in a Grand Final any time you can.
"It would have been nice to have won another premiership, but hopefully this year."
As for his Coleman Medal chances, Roughead is dismissive, suggesting leader Josh Kennedy (51 goals) and even teammate Lance Franklin (38 goals) have better hopes of winning.
"'Bud' (Franklin) could come out this week and kick 13 - it's not like he hasn't done it before – and Kennedy is on fire," he said.
"Some people have whispered in my ear that they've got on me at big odds, but I wouldn't have thought I'd be a chance to win it.
"I'd rather win another medal, to be honest."