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Sam Powell-Pepper looking for change in 2019

Powell-Pepper interview - PTV Peps on getting fit for pre-season

SAM POWELL-PEPPER has made some big changes in the off-season.

He is back fitter and stronger, having put in extra work during his time off, but it is a change in his mentality that is reaping rewards.

The strong-bodied midfielder burst onto the AFL scene after being taken with pick 18 in the 2016 AFL National Draft, playing 22 games and finishing in the top three of the Rising Star award.

His second season was a tougher one for the young gun.

The 20-year-old played 16 games, averaging 19 disposals and kicking five goals, but the midfielder was slapped with a club-imposed sanction and missed some football early in the season.

He also found himself in the SANFL towards the end of the season to find some form. 

But the West Australian is attracting rave reviews from coaches and fellow players in pre-season, returning in ripping condition and looking fit during the physically testing camp in Noosa.

“I definitely stepped it up a bit,” Powell-Pepper said in an interview with portadelaidefc.com.au.

“After learning from my first mistake, coming back a little bit overweight (last season), I just knuckled down and made sure I worked a lot harder than I did last time.

“It has showed in all the training. I’m moving a lot better and I’m a lot fitter.

“It feels a lot easier when you come back fitter.”

As for what he did to get himself ready to hit the track in such a good condition, Powell-Pepper said there was no secret.

He watched what he ate and how much, he completed the program set for him by the Port Adelaide fitness staff, and on his days off he did extra work.

Powell-Pepper instead said it was a change in his psychology that has paid dividends.

“A big mental change,” he said.

“I wanted to get the best out of my footy and I just know that I only get one shot at this so I thought I would take it with both hands.

“I’m just feeling really great at the moment and hopefully it leads into next year.”

In his third AFL season, the former East Perth midfielder is aiming to play more games and be more consistent.

He has credited new midfield coach Jarrad Schofield for driving him to be more explosive and kick more goals.

“I just want to play every game and lead from the front in the midfield,” Powell-Pepper said of his goals for 2019.

“We lost a few of our main players and I feel like I’m just going to bring something to the team that I haven’t brought yet so just a bit of explosiveness and a lot more goals hopefully.

“Schoey’s a really good midfield coach and we’re gelling well together.

“The Noosa camp was great because we learnt a lot about the new game plan we’re going to play and getting to know each other, all the new players as people and as players.”