Wesley Hawke (11 Swans) Yeppoon Swans vs Gladstone Mudcrabs. AFL. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Wesley Hawke (11 Swans) Yeppoon Swans vs Gladstone Mudcrabs. AFL. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK180812safl1

Aussie Rules squad knuckling down to fitness over Christmas

AUSSIE RULES: When Dale Wetzler's Yeppoon Swans A-grade squad runs out onto the field this Capricornia Aussie Rules season, they will be fitter than ever and hungry for a premiership.

While many other Capricornia Aussie Rules teams were indulging over the festive season, Swans' coach Wetzler was ensuring his squad would achieve top-notch fitness in 2013.

Wetzler said the squad had been training for almost six weeks now in preparation for a pre-season development game at the Gold Coast.

"We started training about six weeks earlier than last season because I wanted to get their fitness up," Wetzler said.

"We're playing a development game against the Labrador Aussie Rules team next month and hopefully that will become a regular event."

While there won't be much change to the A-grade side from last year, Wetzler said one of the major changes will be in the captaincy.

"Wes Hawke will be turning over the captain's role to Matthew Wallin this season after holding it for about eight years," he said.

Wetzler tipped key 2012 players Wallin, Hawke and Josh Smith to bring their A-game again this season and said young players to keep an eye on throughout the year would be Harrison Boyd and Mark Kempton.

"If I had to give you two names it would be Harrison and Kempton - they're two junior players who are always at training," Wetzler said.

"Our main goal this year is to improve on last season and with a lot of junior players who were playing two games every week last year now stepping up into A-grade. I think it will be a lot better.

"We have about eight 17-year-old players who now have a year of A-grade experience behind them coming into the squad full time."

Wetzler said he was also hoping the squad would be able to play more consistently to try to match the aggression of Gladstone and BITS.

"We're in the second year of our three-year plan and I think, over the next five to six years, we will be fairly dominant," he said.

Also stepping back into the mix this season will be former A-grade coach Ray Hill who will be taking on the Reserve grade team.

Hill's main aim was to instil the reserve grade culture back into the side, and "having him back will be a very positive move for the club", Wetzler said.