Via By JUSTINE McCULLAGH-BEASY Warrnambool Standard
NORTH Ballarat Roosters recruit Tom Schnerring is bigger, stronger and hungrier.
The Warrnambool export has used a forced injury layoff to add bulk to his 190-centimetre frame in a bid to test himself as a midfielder.
Schnerring, 19, spent his time shuffling between half-back, forward and on a wing before he suffered a season-ending knee injury in round one of the 2015 TAC Cup season.
He’d booted two goals for North Ballarat Rebels before his right knee buckled in a tackle, ending his chance to impress AFL scouts as an overage player.
But the Blues premiership utility, now eight months into his recovery, is eager to push for a round one return, either via the VFL or his new feeder team, Ballarat league club Redan.
“I’ve done a lot of gym work to strengthen the knee and have put on eight or nine kilograms,” Schnerring said.
“I’ve built up my legs to be a lot stronger.
“It adds to the versatility. I want to have a crack in the midfield, being a difficult height around stoppages would be beneficial I think.“I wasn’t concerned about my endurance but I wanted more speed and power.
“The added extra kilos means you can play a heap of positions.”
The Carlton supporter follows the AFL closely.
He takes an interest in players of a similar mould, such as Fremantle Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe and Geelong recruit Paddy Dangerfield and Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury.
Schnerring, who is holidaying in Western Australia, said his rehabilitation program had provided him with a strong fitness base.
“It’s the first few weeks and I am trying to get the rhythm for it,” he said of Roosters’ training.
“I have to play it by ear but at this stage I want to play in round one.
“I know I have done the work and I am doing 90 per cent of training at the moment.
“After Christmas I will be back to full training.”
Schnerring said he tried to keep a positive mindset throughout his layoff as his two sides – the Rebels and the Blues – pushed deep into their respective finals campaigns.
“The first month is really hard – you’re just on the couch – but after that you’re straight on the exercise bike and doing straight-line running,” he said.
“It was really tough watching the Rebels and Warrnambool doing well, not being able to play, but now it’s not too bad – I can see round one.”
Schnerring, who played in Warrnambool’s 2013 Hampden league flag, still dreams of playing AFL.
But returning to the field and finding consistency are his main goals for 2016.
“I’d like to play a few games for the Roosters but if that doesn’t happen I will just work on my game,” he said.
“I am not expecting too much but I want to push myself to get the best out of myself.”