Talented, young Richmond midfielder Reece Conca is slowly, but surely, working his way to peak fitness following an interrupted pre-season.
Conca’s summer was largely spent recovering from the severe hamstring injury he sustained in the opening minutes of last year’s elimination final.
He has played in Richmond’s opening two games of the 2014 season, which has provided him with a significant boost from both a fitness and self-confidence perspective.
“I’ve pulled up well . . . It’s been a bit of a confidence-booster,” Conca said on this week’s edition of the Club’s official podcast, “Talking Tigers”.
“I’m still working on getting the body match fit.
“Obviously, I’m off a pretty limited pre-season, but I’ve pulled up really good, and I’m looking forward to this week (v Western Bulldogs) and just getting another game under the belt.”
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Conca outlined how much time is needed to build a decent fitness base during the pre-season period.
“It takes a fair while,” he said.
“During pre-season, we do a lot of game stimulation stuff – 18 v 18 – which, essentially, is almost like a game, just not as long a period.
“They’re pretty important, especially pre-Christmas . . . it holds you in good stead. So, when you miss a lot of that, you’re a little bit behind.
“I’ve still only played three full games all year, so I’m working on that. I’m doing extra conditioning at training and just trying to get all over it.
“I think my body’s starting to get in a pretty good spot now.”
The 21-year-old, who has played 54 games, is keen to take on a more permanent pure midfield role with the Tigers in his fourth season of AFL football.
To that end, he revealed the areas of his game that he’s focusing on improving . . .
“A bit more composure and times, and my kicking efficiency’s probably got to get up a little bit,” Conca said.
“I want to try and push forward and kick some more goals. You see ‘Cotchy’ (Trent Cotchin), ‘Lids’ (Brett Deledio) and ‘Dusty’ (Dustin Martin) – these sort of guys – who you know are pretty influential with the amount of goals they can kick.
“So, if I can get that up, it’d be a really good step in my development.
“And then, obviously, defensively I’ve just got to work on some stuff. It’s such a massive part of the game these days . . .”