When Adelaide defender Mark Keane arrived at the Club from Ireland last February, he knew he had a mammoth task in front of him.

The start of the season was just over one month away, and all of his new Crows teammates had an extra three months of pre-season training under their belts.

But the 23-year-old Irishman is not one to back down from a challenge, and quickly went to work, building up his fitness, earning the respect of his peers and breaking into the Adelaide team by the end of the season.

Now an established part of the group at West Lakes, Keane will get the opportunity to complete a full pre-season in the lead-up to the 2024, and is determined to make every post a winner between now and Round One in three months' time.

Speaking to AFC Media, he said being around the group for the whole summer will be pivotal to his hopes of locking down a senior spot in 2024.

“It’s gonna be huge (having that bigger fitness base), I’m determined to try and get through every session over the summer and be in the best possible shape come Round One,” Keane said.

“In the past I have always gone back home for Christmas, but for the first time I am staying in Australia over the three week break as I really try to put my best foot forward.

“I’m confident that the block of training I would have done over the summer will have me in perfect condition for the start of the season.”

Keane took an opportunity to return to Ireland during the off-season, and managed to maintain his fitness while ticking a “special” experience off of his bucket list.

“It was unreal to head back home (over the off-season), it was a great mental refresher for me being around family,” Keane said.

“The highlight was without a doubt getting the chance to play a bit of Gaelic football, it’s always something I love doing, and to be able to take the field again with my cousins and friends I grew up with made it even more special.

“It was important I got to tick that box, and it helped me maintain my fitness over the off-season and ensure I came back here ready and raring to go.”

Back on Australian shores, Keane has dedicated himself to the Crows’ pre-season program, completing every training session in the lead-up to Christmas.

“Nothing is going to come easy, but all I can do is just put my head down and go to work over the next couple of months,” Keane said.

“I’m learning so much after every session, and being able to play on guys like Tex (Taylor Walker), Fog (Darcy Fogarty) and Filthy (Riley Thilthorpe), it is great for my development as a defender.

“Hopefully I’ll come into the season much fitter than previous years, and be able to lock down a spot in the team moving forward.”