DEFENSIVE general Sam Doukas believes Allansford’s increased focus on off-field preparation is behind his career-best start to a season.
Doukas, 24, has led a watertight back line this Warrnambool and District season, with the Cats ranked second for points conceded after eight rounds.
The plumber, a one-club player who prides himself on his loyalty, has been the key figure down back for the Josh Parkinson-coached side.
His form warranted selection for the interleague clash against Colac and District last weekend. He emerged from the thrilling win with his reputation enhanced.
Doukas said working with Allansford fitness coaches Joel Cornelissen and Paul Poduska had much to do with his unheralded form.
“From a personal perspective it’s probably the best start to a season to date I’ve had,” he said.
“Credit to Parky and Corny and Pods who are the fitness coaches that we’ve got now. They’ve been on me flat out, I did a full pre-season, the extra training loads.
“I’ve dropped probably five kilos from last year which has been a definite help to me finishing out games and improving. It’s been a great start.”
The prospects of a good campaign started when Doukas kept Merrivale forward Jet Dowie goalless in a narrow win to open the season.
The result put the spotlight on Dowie, who left the Cats for the Tigers in the off-season but was returning from a long-term injury lay off.
But Dowie has kicked 37 goals in seven matches since, a figure which underlines just how well Doukas played that day.
“I definitely remember it. It was a tough first game, the first game is always tough,” Doukas said.
“He played at Allansford for a few years and I trained on him more often than not in our forward set-ups.
“I knew how he played, which was an advantage to me. He was probably lacking a bit of match fitness to be fair to him.”
Doukas nominated his “strength and speed” as his two best traits — “I like playing on the small forwards as well because I can keep up with them”.
He said Russells Creek veteran Damian Osborne and Panmure utility Tim Condon were among other strong-bodied footballers he had played on.
He is likely to man Nirranda goalkicker Rick Spokes today but he’s anticipating coming up against Dennington spearhead Chris Keilar next weekend.
“I always have a great match with Boots because of his reach and speed on the lead. He’s one of the best key forwards there are at the minute,” he said.
Doukas was confident Allansford was building towards having a serious crack at winning a premiership this season.
“I love Allansford. I want to stay there and win a flag with them one day, which I think we’re pretty close at the moment,” he said.
He said he had always thought about playing in the Hampden league. “I was close to joining it a couple of years ago.
“But loyalty made me stay with Allansford. I really want to win a flag with them.”