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“It kind of hurt me in the long run”: How Thilthorpe learnt from last year’s off-season

Adelaide Crows forward Riley Thilthorpe says he’s learnt from his last off-season not to go too hard too early.

Thilthorpe entered 2022 with plenty of momentum after a strong debut campaign that saw him average over a goal a game, but the now 20-year-old wasn’t able to deliver early on.

After playing the first game of the season in Matthew Nicks’ side, Thilthorpe was dropped to the SANFL and wouldn’t play seniors again until Round 10.

It came after numerous teammates pumped up Thilthorpe during the pre-season as one of the most in-form players on the training track.

But Thilthorpe, taken with pick 2 in the 2020 National Draft, said he’s looking for a better balance this time around between his off-season and pre-season.

“I think last year I probably went a bit too hard in the off-season and it kind of hurt me in the long run,” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.

“So I’ve definitely tried to come in a bit fresher to this pre-season and I’ll give it a red-hot crack.”

The 201cm prospect made 11 AFL appearances throughout 2022 for eight goals, with the Crows eventually introducing him into a forward line already consisting of Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty.

While Walker and Fogarty combined to be one of the league’s finest tall combinations up forward, Thilthorpe improved as the season went on.

“I guess you always want to be playing in the AFL, but we had really good competition for spots with key forwards, we had a lot of blokes playing really well,” Thilthorpe added.

“I probably didn’t start as well as I’d like to and the body was a bit sore, it was good to go back to the SANFL and get some confidence.

“I’m happy with how I finished the year and hoping to take that back end of last year into this year.”

As for what he’s looking to improve over the pre-season – which started on Monday for Adelaide – Thilthorpe stated: “I think just that repeat spring efforts and trying to get a bit more explosive in the gym and on the track so I can really be that power forward”.

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