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Brutal session 'top of the podium' for Barlow

Michael Whiting  December 21, 2017 3:22 PM

There is a lot of competitive stuff, tackling, grappling, boxing, which I probably haven't done for six or seven years.

Now in his ninth AFL pre-season, Gold Coast veteran Michael Barlow says Thursday's training session was the hardest he's ever done.

The Suns hit their training field adjacent to Metricon Stadium for three hours in 30-plus degree heat, completing a physically demanding session laced with tackling, bumping and running.

"The session we just did then was right at the top of the podium of what I've done over my nine-year career," Barlow said.

"There was some really good intensity and some game-like stuff, some real competitive stuff."

Barlow said new coach Stuart Dew had brought an emphasis on competition in his first two months at the club.

"There is a lot of competitive stuff, tackling, grappling, boxing, which I probably haven't done for six or seven years," he said.

"I remember doing it early in my career, when I was 21 or 22, my first couple of years at Freo we'd do a lot of boxing, tackling and grappling and I think that helped me elevate myself to be an AFL footballer."

Barlow broke his leg against Carlton in round 13 last season but has recovered strongly, not missing a session during the pre-season.

He said Dew was a completely different coach to Mark Harvey, Ross Lyon and Rodney Eade, who have mentored him since his 2010 debut.

"It's a bit of chalk and cheese from what I've been accustomed to as a senior coach.

"No disrespect to the past coaches I've had, but Stuey has come in and is the next generation down from the guys I've had.

"He really works on personal relationships, not being overbearing, the empowerment the rest of the coaching group has, the players feel really comfortable with Stuey.

"The state of the club at the moment, externally a lot of things will be said, but internally it couldn't be more exciting really."