Time for 'soft' Suns to toughen up

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 07 November 2012 | 14.43

Gold Coast midfielder David Swallow says the Suns must be more physical if they want to climb up the AFL ladder. Picture: David Clark Source: Gold Coast Bulletin

GUN midfielder David Swallow admits the Suns went "soft" last season and must develop a stronger physical presence if the club is to surge up the ladder in 2013.

The call comes as the squad faced another demanding wrestling session in Arizona yesterday, where ripped shorts, stretched singlets and a busted ear were some of the side effects.

The Suns have been heavily scrutinised for a lack of physical pressure in their opening two seasons and Swallow didn't hide when asked if the club was too soft in 2012.

"Well yeah, maybe we were compared to the first year where we were really cracking in hard and it was something we really prided ourselves on," he said.

"The first year around clearances we were really good and it was probably one of the areas we dropped away last season.

"Maybe in the second year the boys just weren't going in as hard as the first year and its one of those things we just have to get back to.

"If we start winning more clearances and contests than the more chance we have of winning more games."

Swallow welcomed the new look fitness department's stronger focus on body contact this pre-season and said the new approach was already paying dividends.

"Obviously AFL is a very physical sport and these type of sessions give you confidence that your body can handle it," he said.

Dion Prestia was the only casualty from yesterday's wrestling session, with the midfielder suffering a corked calf and a lacerated right ear.

Danny Stanley almost had his shorts completely torn off from a determined Gary Ablett, while Jackson Allen was also left with a stretched singlet after a strong tussle with the Suns skipper.

Suns head of fitness Paul Haines conceded there was a higher risk of injury involved in the wrestling sessions, but said it was a chance the club had to take.

"A big part of our pre-season focus is the body contact training and we do it to give the players confidence that when they play games they know they've done the work," he said.

"It's a bit of risk versus return and in close quarters its not too bad.

"They will get a few bruises, knocks and blood noses but nothing major.

"Plus we keep a close eye on the guys who have modified programs anyway."

Ablett and Stanley were the standouts in the hour-long hitout, while Steven May put his big frame to good use.

In promising signs for the club, injured vice-captain Nathan Bock participated in most of the sessions, but was kept to light duties.

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