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Mathieson prepares for a big 2017

October 31, 2016 5:12 PM

Young Brisbane Lions midfielder Rhys Mathieson is finding “rare air” during the offseason as he tries to take his fitness to the next level.

Mathieson has turned to the familiar face of Geelong Falcons conditioning boss Matt Critchley to give him a headstart on 2017.

Across more than 20 sessions since the AFL season finished, Mathieson and Essendon’s Darcy Parish have quietly returned to the Falcons’ headquarters for a series of high-intensity, highly calculated workouts designed to have them in peak condition for the start of pre-season training.

The training includes Mathieson wearing a breathing mask that simulates the effects of altitude training by restricting air flow, forcing the body to work harder during the workouts and, theoretically, helping to strengthen lung capacity.

“It just helps blow me up a bit quicker, so it’s like you’re sucking through a straw, it’s been handy,” Mathieson told The Geelong Advertiser.

“It takes us back to the good old days, I love training with them,” said Mathieson, who played 11 AFL games in his debut season this year.

“I haven’t stopped since the season’s finished, I’ve just kept going.

“I can’t just walk back into the club and think I’m going to play Round 1, I just try to prepare the best I can for the season.

“I just want to be ready for (new Senior Coach) Chris (Fagan) and earn his respect and hopefully I can get that Round 1 spot.”

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