ADELAIDE defender Brodie Smith has tipped the club's internal trial game on Friday to be a fierce, no-holds-barred contest, with competition for a spots already red hot.
Another summer of personal-best efforts in the gym has Adelaide's squad even stronger than it was last season and Smith said every player was talking about how difficult it would be to secure a place in the best 22.
"Everyone's talking about the squad and how tough it's going to be [to get picked] … so it's going to be on for spots," Smith said.
"The match sim's been pretty intense and obviously this Friday it will go up another level in the intra-club and then through the NAB Cup when the young boys get their chance.
"It'll be pretty close to a game intensity. We've been holding back a bit on the track, obviously you don't want to get injured in pre-season, but I think that'll be off the hook on Friday and everyone will go crashing in."
Smith said he had put on several kilograms since last season last year and that his teammates were stronger and fitter than ever.
"We've gotten stronger again in the gym - I think everyone's done PBs in the gym with their squats and that sort of stuff," he said.
"I think I was about 78kg when I got to the club and I'm about eight kilos heavier now, so another couple over the off-season and my numbers have gone up in the gym.
"I'm feeling pretty good.
"We did the last of our fitness testing today and all the boys got really good numbers as well, so I think we've gotten fitter and stronger."
The 21-year-old predicted the Crows would use the pre-season competition to get game time into inexperienced players rather than focusing on defending the NAB Cup title.
They would still try to win every game, he said, but insisted extra opportunity for young players would only increase the level of internal competition.
Smith's 2012 finals campaign saw his emerge as one of Adelaide's most impressive youngsters, but he said he would have to prove himself once again in the lead up to the club's round-one clash against Essendon.
"I was really happy with my finals series, it gave me a lot of confidence going into this pre-season to keep improving.
"Talking about these spots up for grabs, you don't want to try and use [the NAB Cup] as a tune up and [then] someone comes in and plays better than you and takes your spot.
"I've just got to approach every game like I would in a normal season and just play my best footy and try and get that spot."