Weighty decision for Magpie as he heads back

Jack Crisp6COLLINGWOOD runner Jack Crisp plans to play heavier this season to boost his body strength as he becomes a permanent half-back flanker.

Crisp was moved from the midfield to defence mid-season and seemed to thrive on the role, providing much-needed dash and his usual accountability and finishing in the top five at the Pies for possessions, tackles, uncontested possessions and defensive-50 rebounds.

The 24-year-old former Brisbane Lions rookie, who hasn’t missed a game in his three seasons with the Magpies, finished equal-sixth in the Pies’ best and fairest this year after coming third two years ago.

Adding some extra muscle is part of a plan to help his straight-ahead game, without compromising his running power.

“I’ll play maybe a kilo heavier (to) be a little bit stronger … (and) my sprint and surge stuff is going to be more consistent,” Crisp told RSN927 radio on Tuesday morning.

“I’m feeling pretty good so far. If I can learn to run for long periods of time with an extra kilo on my body I think I’ll be better off.”

Crisp, who’d previously excelled as a run-with midfielder, said he could still have stints in the midfield but was spending about 70 per cent of his craft training with the backline.

“(The coaches) asked for a bit of feedback (at the end of the season) and how I went with it and I said I really enjoyed it. It’s a new aspect I can add to my game and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

Crisp also spoke of the frustration of not playing finals in his time at Collingwood.

“That probably takes its toll a fair bit. A few people are starting to get frustrated now. It’s been four years out of finals – it’s been (long) enough; we need to get back to it,” he said.

He said coach Nathan Buckley, who’d been re-signed for a further two years after coming under intense scrutiny, seemed to have modified his approach.

“I guess it’s just a bit of the monkey off the back. He’s still his confident self and really influential for everyone. I still find him very fascinating, and everything he says is very intriguing. He just seems so much more relaxed.

“The way he’s approaching training with all the other coaches, I think everyone else is starting to take another step forward and become more involved themselves, so it’s not just Nathan running the show the whole time. So far he’s just been wonderful.”

Crisp is also dealing with the challenges of becoming a father a month ago.

“It relaxes the mind away from football and then I’m just focusing on getting things right at home,” he said.

“It does help out a little bit but still I’m pretty tired, especially in pre-season. When I get home I want a nap but then I’ve got to change a nappy.”