Adelaide midfielder Billy Dowling says he is reaping the benefits of going through his second full AFL pre-season.

Selected with Pick No.43 in the 2022 National Draft, Dowling spent his debut campaign learning the ropes at SANFL, and blossomed to become a key contributor in the Crows’ run to the Preliminary Final.

The 19-year-old then continued that momentum into the off-season and beginning of the pre-season program, relying heavily on what he learned as a first-year player during the summer of 2022/23.

“It’s a little bit different I think than the first year, there is a bit more responsibility on you and you have a bit more of an understanding of what’s going on,” Dowling told AFC Media.

“In your first year you go in trying to do so much, while in the second you are able to narrow it down a bit more and find what works for you. 

“I had some great people to learn from last year that have been in good shape for this year.

“For me it’s just about focusing on the little things that will make me better, staying on top of my routine and staying diligent throughout all the sessions.”

Heading into his second pre-season, Dowling identified two focus areas he believed would help take his game to new heights in 2024.

“I am still wanting to put on size and work on being more explosive with the ball in hand,” Dowling said.

“I’ve been working very closely with our gym coaches which has been great, and keeping in close touch with Burgo (Darren Burgess) as well to keep on top of the fitness side of things.

“Being only six weeks away from starting to play games, things are really starting to ramp up and I’m feeling really good about where I am both physically and mentally.

“Hopefully come game day I will be a lot more confident having put in the work over the summer and I can’t wait to get into it.” 

While Dowling’s move into the midfield yielded great results at the back end of last season, he doesn’t want to limit himself to just one position.

He said he ultimately sees himself as a hybrid midfielder/forward, and wants to become as versatile as he can.

“I’m focusing on playing both midfield and forward and being a really versatile player that can do a lot of different things,” Dowling said.

“When it comes to game day I’m honestly happy to play anywhere, be it in the midfield or up forward, I just want to play my role for the team. 

“As long as I’m out there playing that’s all that really matters to me, and hopefully this season I will be able to continue to grow my game.”