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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Wonky knees worried Brownlow winner

Wonky knees worried Brownlow winner

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1 Wonky knees worried Brownlow winner on Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:05 pm


Wonky knees worried Brownlow winner
STEVE BUTLER The West Australian

Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis has revealed how a specially tailored training regime helped him overcome potentially chronic knee problems which threatened to ruin his career.

Priddis, who snared the AFL's most prized individual award on Monday night, said doctors discovered misalignment in his legs as a teenager and warned that some established football training drills could have dire consequences on his playing future.

He then began a strength-based program under veteran WA conditioning coach Matt Barber - whose clients in the 1990s included West Coast and former star sprinter Dean Capobianco - to help physically prepare him for the elite levels of the game.

Dual Subiaco premiership coach Peter German then mentored him with the knowledge and polish that has made him one of the AFL's most respected inside midfielders.

Priddis said he had not been able to use the jump-training technique known as plyometrics because of his knee issues and admitted there were a few months earlier in his career where he was "quite worried".

But once he was rookie-listed by West Coast in 2006, his training program became even more refined to protect his knees.

"We've monitored it throughout my career and once I reached the AFL, I've had a specific program tailored to my long-term career wellness and looking after my joints," Priddis said.

Barber said last night he believed the medical diagnosis on Priddis' knees was a godsend.

It prompted him to focus the budding star's agility training on how to do a "one-step turn in all directions". "Every time he tried to bound, his knee was trying to blow the anterior cruciate (ligament)," Barber said.

"So we reacted to it and didn't let him do anything that would hurt."

Priddis, 29, said German's influence was profound because of the hard work ethic he had encouraged at Subiaco.

"The culture of the footy club changed just through pure work-rate and I was one of the guys who thrived on it," the 2006 Sandover medallist said.

German, a former North Melbourne player and West Coast and Fremantle assistant coach, said there were tears of joy in his Melbourne household on Monday night as they watched the Brownlow count, and the result had given him great pride and satisfaction.

He said his protege would inspire mature-aged AFL hopefuls across the nation. "How he's got there and how it's all panned out so far, you could almost write a book on it," German said.

"Matty always knew what he wanted to do and achieve, he stuck to his guns and that's why it's such great reward.

"He was a young kid coming through off the bench in 2004 and by the next year he was almost the premier on-baller of the group … he just emerged so quickly and it was all due to the fact that he'd laid such a really good foundation."

While Priddis conceded Barber had polarised views among critics because of innuendo about the use of performance-enhancing substances, he saw him only as a key ally in his career.

"Matty Barber - I can't speak highly enough of him," he said.

Priddis is contracted to West Coast until the end of next season and Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett said he did not expect new negotiations to open until the middle of next year.

"He may not be the best player to win a Brownlow, but he is the best bloke," Nisbett said.

"He's such a humble person and he's achieved so much through pure hard work.

"He's a great example for any young player."

"Every time he tried to bound, his knee was trying to blow the anterior cruciate (ligament)." " *Matt Barber *

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