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Contested ball the focus for Hall

I've really looked at a lot of tape, asking questions, learning how to use my body.
GC SUNS midfielder, Aaron Hall

Aaron Hall desperately wants to improve the contested side of his game, and in Sunday's win over the Brisbane Lions, there was evidence of early-season inroads.

The Gold Coast midfielder shot to prominence in the opening three rounds of last year when he polled a maximum nine Brownlow Medal votes.

It was hard to miss his blistering pace and run-and-bounce style.

But as the season wore on, Hall's form wavered, to the point where coach Rodney Eade dropped him to the NEAFL for a week.

Hall doesn't want a repeat of that in 2017 and has worked on balancing his game during the off-season.

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Against the Lions, he finished with 33 disposals, and while the explosive outside run was still there, the 13 contested possessions and nine clearances jump off the stats sheet.

Only twice in Hall's 78-game career – the first 50 of which were spent as a small forward – has he had more contested possessions, and never has he had so many clearances.

You can't read too much into a pre-season hit-out against the lowly Lions, but Hall told it was an area of his game he had put a lot of work into the past three months.

"Last year I didn't get too many first possessions," Hall said.

"As a midfielder, guys that get clearances and first possessions off the ruck tap, get three or four more possession per game and those clearance numbers are pivotal in the way games are won and lost.

"I've really looked at a lot of tape, asking questions, learning how to use my body.

"I found myself with Gary (Ablett), Michael Rischitelli and Dion (Prestia) to a lesser extent, were more seasoned inside, so I didn't really push my case forward to be the go-to or get that first possession.

"I know we've got to cut the slack for everybody and share the load and that was something I was able to implement on the weekend."

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The Suns' midfield will take a totally different shape this season with Prestia (Richmond) and Richitelli sidelined with an ACL injury for the first two months of the season.

Inside midfielders Michael Barlow and Jarryd Lyons have come to the club, as has classy former Lion Pearce Hanley.

Hall says the expanded midfield group can complement one another.

"I believe we can take it up to any midfield in the comp," he said.

"I don't think there'll be any significant change in the way I play, but I have a real thirst for that inside work now and being able to, from there, use my assets and power away from the stoppages.

"I don't want to be a player that pops in and out, I want to make sure each week I'm out there, I'm at my best and performing to my abilities and capabilities for the team."