Matt Pine who was a part of the glory run of the Sydney Swans in the AFL.
Matt Pine who was a part of the glory run of the Sydney Swans in the AFL.

Tips from the top of the game

THE Northern Heat squad was put through its paces on a hot day in Armidale on Saturday, where the highlight of the day was working with a former Sydney Swans strength and conditioning coach.

Matt Pine spent seven years on the Swans staff during a period when they very rarely missed out on playing finals footy.

He shared his experience with the squad, demonstrating correct exercise technique and providing the players with an AFL-specific running and strength program they will follow over the December and January period.

With a match to be played against the strong Surfers Paradise/Southport Colts in March, coach Alan Martin knows the importance of the Northern Heat players being fit and ready at that point.

"With our program incorporating players from both the North West and North Coast we can't get together on a regular basis like the Surfers Paradise/Southport team can, so we're starting at a disadvantage. Matt Pine's expertise in this area, and the quality program that he's given our boys, means that we can match them from a fitness perspective and give ourselves every chance of performing well."

In addition to the gym based session, the Heat squad also completed a footy training session that focused on switching play, defensive patterns, and creating space around the contest.

"Much of what we did in that session was new to the boys and they struggled with it initially. Credit it to them, they stuck with it and picked up the new patterns quickly and by the end of the session the group looked like a team that have played together for years."

The squad will focus on individual programs before training resumes in February.