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'Titch' switch

Richmond midfielder Shane Edwards has gained 7.5kg since last season
RICHMOND midfielder Shane Edwards has been known as 'Titch' for good reason. When he came over from North Adelaide he was so skinny he could fit down a drainpipe on the Punt Rd grandstand.
 
But now, after another summer of hard yakka in the gym and on the tooth, he's ready for a new nickname. Edwards has put on 7.5kg since last season, bringing his weight to 81.5kg.
 
Maybe he should be renamed 'Arnie' or 'Muscles', or just plain 'Eddo'.
 
"It's been easier to put on weight because I'm a bit older and my body's more mature," he said.
 
Edwards was drafted at No. 26 in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft. He was just 66kg when the Tigers took him on.
 
Every pre-season since then, he's worked on putting on weight, but not too fast. The Tigers' fitness staff warned him that an explosion in kilograms would slow him down and put pressure on his groins.
 
Just last year, he was able to add only 3kg over summer. This year, by which time he was 23, his body was ready to take on extra bulk.
 
"This year I won't be behind the eight-ball like every other year," he said. "It will just help my footy in general."
 
When asked whether there was any secret behind his weight gain, Edwards said his gym program had been similar to that of previous years and once again he had watched his diet.
 
But when pressed he added that the excellent cooking of his housemate Dan Connors, the Tigers half-back, might have helped.  Connors, it seems, is a dab hand in the kitchen.
 
"He's a really good cook," Edwards said. "He's really smart with his nutrition."
 
One of the reasons put forward for Michael Tuck's longevity was that he was skinny and therefore had less weight to lug around. The former Hawk champ played 426 games, the AFL record, over a 20-season career.
 
If Edwards' past two seasons are an indication, he, too, is a slight footballer blessed with durability. He played every game in 2010.
 
In 2011 he played 20 games, missing two with a cheekbone injury after a centre-square collision in the opening five seconds of the match against the Western Bulldogs in round eight.
 
Edwards said the 2010 season has been his best because he was consistent. He was less happy with his form in 2011 - but there are a few weighty reasons why he might improve this season.