Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands says a fresh, healthy body has been the big positive of his 10-week lay-off with a toe injury.
Outstanding form in the last three home-and-away games has sent rivals an ominous warning that Fremantle's 211cm giant is well and truly awake in time for Saturday's elimination final against Geelong at the MCG.
Sandilands has averaged 16 possessions, 39 hit-outs and a goal a game in his three matches back, against Richmond, North Melbourne and Melbourne.
He would have preferred to play all year, but said his body felt fresher and healthier as a result of his enforced break.
"I would take 22 games any day," he said. "It is what you train all summer for, to be fit and available.
"When you miss games of footy, it is not much fun sitting on the sidelines. But it has been a positive that I have missed the 10 and am feeling pretty healthy at the moment.
"The wear and tear of the impact all the time - having the 10 weeks off you don't get that as much and it has just been good that I have been able to get three games under my belt before this weekend."
Sandilands wears protective plates in both his boots to prevent a recurrence of the turf toe injuries that dogged him during the last two seasons. He described his feet as "100 per cent".
"It is just good to be back in the side, when you don't play for a while you realise how much you miss it," Sandilands said. "I have got a couple of plates in my boots that are going to stay there for good now but other than that the feet are really good and I don't even think about it on game day."
And he seemed optimistic that he and fellow ruckman Jonathon Griffin would play more together, provided they were able to threaten when resting in attack.
The pair played just their third game together against Melbourne last Saturday night, getting cautious approval from coach Ross Lyon, who has previously been reluctant to team them up.
Sandilands and Griffin both kicked two goals against the Demons, giving Sandilands confidence that the combination could work."I thought we worked pretty well together," he said.
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