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Kangaroos fitter than ever: Harvey

Robert Grant 02/12/2010 04:04:07 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne skipper Brent Harvey says the Kangaroos will go into next year fitter than he has seen the side in his 15 years at the club.

The players recently returned from an intensive high-altitude training camp in Utah in the US, which Harvey believes will significantly boost their stamina.

The 32-year-old midfielder did not take part in the trip and was stunned when he saw them perform during a time trial and light skills session today.

"You still have to train but you're away from the boys and you think you're going at 100 per cent and you're probably going at about 70 and you realise how hard the boys have been training in Utah," he said.

"They've come back in some real good shape. Some guys, like Lindsay Thomas are knocking off six, seven, eight seconds from their PBs (personal best times).

"I definitely think they're fitter than I've seen them. You can ask any player now and they'll probably say the same thing.

"I think the Utah trip has really been beneficial.

"In the high altitude it's harder to breathe and take in oxygen. You don't get the effects straight away over there but when they came back they worked pretty hard last week.

"They'll get some benefit from it then and even down the track after Christmas it will extend to then and hopefully throughout the season and make us a lot fitter."

Rival clubs like Collingwood, Carlton, the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn have launched similar programs in the off-season and Harvey said it was important to match your best practice.

"You don't want to be left behind - one or two per cent, everything helps," he said.

Meanwhile, North Melbourne's plans to play premiership games in Ballarat next year are now under a cloud after the newly-elected Victorian coalition government refused to commit to an upgrade of the region's Eureka Stadium.

But North coach Brad Scott said the club plans to continue its push to move into country Victoria.

"We're extremelyexcited about that opportunity," Scott said.

"We've worked for a number of years on the partnership and the relationship with Ballarat so we're still extremely confident that that will work.

"We think it's really important for the Ballarat region and they want to see AFL footy played for premiership points in their region.

"We're really confident that between the State Government and the Federal Government it can be worked out."

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