Reilly O’Brien says Adelaide’s big man stocks are in strong supply, with the 23-year-old more than ready to take the mantle as the Club’s number one ruckman in 2020.
Speaking to media on Friday, O’Brien said he’s hungrier than ever than make the ruck position his own.
“I’ve obviously been chasing big Sauce (Sam Jacobs) for a few years and trying to knock him off at training,” O’Brien said.
“This year it’s a bit of a different feel but I’m just as hungry as ever to have a big year next year.
“I loved getting the opportunity this year to play some regular footy and I want to elevate my game to another level next year and become one of the best ruckmen in the competition.”
To do so, he’s been working on perfecting his ruck craft and ability to impact the scoreboard.
“My centre bounce work was one of the areas I needed to improve on so I’m doing a lot of work with Doc Clarke and the other ruckmen on that at the moment,” O’Brien.
“I’m working on ways I can get forward, take marks and kick goals - the best ruckmen in the comp are able to do that.”
With a goal to play every game next season in mind, injury prevention has been paramount for the young ruckman.
“I do a mountain load of injury prevention with the physios - a couple hours a day so I’m very diligent with that,” O’Brien said.
“A lot of trunk work, strengthening and work through our hips.
“I also do a lot of work to maintain my recovery - a lot of stretching and yoga as well.”
But should the 201cm big man not be available, O’Brien felt comfortable his fellow ruckmen were prepared to step up and fill his shoes.
“We’ve got a few good back ups, we’ve got Billy (Frampton) and Elliott (Himmelberg) and Kieran Strachan who are more than capable,” he said.
“Billy I’ve faced in the SANFL a lot, he’s more than capable (of playing AFL).
“We’ve been doing a lot of ruck work together and really pushing each other over the pre-season.”
“I had 23 on my Crows guernsey that I always wore to training” 💙❤️💛 #weflyasone— Adelaide Crows (@Adelaide_FC) November 11, 2019
It’s been three weeks since the Crows hit the track for their first training session with Matthew Nicks and O’Brien said the new coach has “really refreshed the group”.
“Nicksy’s been great... he hasn’t said too much, he’s just let us play, but he’s starting to bring his own terminology and method,” O’Brien said.
“One of the main things he’s talked (to me) about is being physical around the ground, which I try to do already.
“(Nicks) has come from GWS where they’ve had Shane Mumford and he’s been a pretty physical player so I’m trying to emulate that and put my body in the way to look after the other midfielders and other players”
After spending his first four years at West Lakes as an understudy to Jacobs, O’Brien said he’s looking forward to facing him next year.
“I had a chat to (Jacobs) the other week, he was a bit flat he doesn't have a game at Adelaide Oval next year.”
“But we face them at Giants Stadium so that’ll be fun.”