CHARLIE DIXON has put the disappointment of a season severely impacted by injury behind him and is back bigger and stronger than ever as the club approaches its first competitive hit-out this week.
The Power will play an intra-club match at Alberton on Friday evening, giving the coaching staff a good idea of where the group is at before the club’s opening Marsh Community Series match against Brisbane on 23 February.
Dixon missed much of last season after a shocking leg injury at the end of 2018, managing just nine games at AFL level.
But after an intense off-season, including spending time training in the United States with John Cahill Medallist Travis Boak, Dixon is ready to make his mark in 2020.
“It’s probably one of my first where I’ve been able to do an actual full pre-season,” he explained to reporters at Evanston Gardens Primary School where he was running a healthy lifestyles workshop for students as part of the Power Community Youth Program.
“My body’s feeling good and I think the time I had off has helped my body heal a bit.
“I’m a bit leaner and feeling a bit stronger.
“Everyone thinks I’ve lost a few kilos but I’m actually a bit heavier, just a bit leaner and able to cover the ground fairly well so I’m going alright.”
Tipping the scales at around 110kgs, Dixon is heavier than last year and his herculean strength is back.
The 29-year-old has credited his drive to return to his best form and improved mental health for his bolstered fitness.
“Over my break, normally I sort of blow out a bit but I just tried to keep myself fit, keep training throughout my break because I didn’t have much of a year last year so I kept trying to keep myself active and keep the brain moving as well, and have a goal of where I wanted to be when I got back to pre-season,” Dixon said.
“I just want to be able to do a full pre-season and be fit, and be able to produce on game-day week-in, week-out.
“I suppose I am turning 30 but I haven’t felt this way in a while. Probably my 2017 season was my best to date but I still think I’ve got stuff that I can improve on from that year.
“It’s been up and down – that’s the way football is. Nothing is going to go your way every time so you have to fight your way through things.”
Dixon – who comes out of contract at season’s end – said his time off last season hit home how eager he is to extend his career.
“I’m 29 and turning 30 this year. We always had older players coming to the club and telling us before you blink, it’ll be over or towards the end – and you don’t always take notice of that,” he explained.
“But here I am 29, and towards the end of my career and you think ‘geez those old blokes were right’.
“I think I can still play for another three or four years if my body holds up but the same things come up – am I going to have a spot in the team, can I still produce on game-day – there’s all these questions you ask yourself as you get older and you see these young blokes come through knocking on the door.
“You can’t get comfortable and that’s something I like – the competitiveness of the young blokes coming through. They keep you on your toes.”
Dixon, who has improved his running capacity and has spent extra time honing his routine for set shots, was particularly impressed with first-year forward Mitch Georgiades.
“When he’s flying over the top of my head taking marks, he’s going to be a special player,” Dixon said.
“All the young boys have come in with a great attitude. The camp was really good. We’ve just got another good group of young lads coming through – and seeing Butters, Duursma and Rozee coming through, they’re just growing and growing.
“The way they conduct themselves around the club is unreal and I’m just very excited to see what they can produce this year.”