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Conca on track

Reece Conca looks on during a Richmond Tigers training session at Traeger Park in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Reece Conca looks on during a Richmond Tigers training session at Traeger Park in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
I think [inside] suits me more, so I really enjoyed that and I'm aiming for another big year
Reece Conca
Richmond young gun Reece Conca is on track to play in the pre-season competition after overcoming complications with the foot stress fracture that ended his 2012 season early.

Conca, 20, missed the final three games of last year after fracturing the third metatarsal in his right foot in round 20 against the Western Bulldogs.
After initially thinking it was a relatively short-term problem, the injury failed to heal properly and he developed the additional issue of achilles soreness.

While he avoided surgery, his off-season was disrupted when he had to don a moon boot for 10 weeks.

"It was just a tricky one. [Recovery] can sort of vary – it can be four to six weeks, eight to 10 … it set my off-season back a bit," Conca told AFL.com.au last week, during the Tigers' community camp in Alice Springs.

It also ruined the loose holiday plans he had to go home to Perth and visit Bali, thanks to the bulky plastic boot.

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Conca is no stranger to disrupted pre-seasons, however.

During his first summer with the club at the end of 2010, he was restricted until Christmas by complications with his left fibula, which he broke in the season before he was drafted.

Then in 2011, it was groin soreness and a successful hip scope that kept him from the track.

"I've been a little bit unlucky. I've missed all my pre-seasons so far," he said.

"It's tough to build that fitness and strength without them.

"I've sort of tracked ok after that. They look after us really well in rehab so it hasn't set me back too much in terms of the actual season but I need to try and get a full pre-season over the next couple of years, more for the longevity of my career than anything."

Conca started running in November and was back in the main group before Christmas.

With a few weeks of training under his belt, he got some valuable game time in last Friday night's clash against the Indigenous All-Stars at Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

That all going well, he plans to play in the pre-season competition, with a view to the Tigers' round one clash with Carlton on March 28 at the MCG.  

Conca has also been training with the midfielders this pre-season, and has plans to pick up where he left off in 2012 with a more consistent role on the inside.

It's where he wants to be after starting his career at Richmond in the back pocket before working his way into the midfield and spending time on the wing.

"I think [inside] suits me more, so I really enjoyed that and I'm aiming for another big year," he said.

"I'll play whatever role the coaches want from me but hopefully that's more inside mid and I'd like to maybe even push forward more and kick some goals, just to add that side to my game."