TRAINING twice a week with his Dimboola team-mates is paying off for Oliver Braithwaite.
Braithwaite, 24, spent the past three seasons travelling from Melbourne each week to play for his home club, missing out on Tuesday and Thursday night runs.
He relied on personal training sessions and self motivation to prepare for games.
Now back living in Horsham and working at Community Axis, Braithwaite has noticed the benefits of regular training under Roo coach Gary Davidson.
“It is huge and you feel more a part of the group,” Braithwaite said.
“You get the structures down pat and fitness is the big one.”
A smaller-bodied player, Braithwaite relies on his pace to help him have an impact.
His form on a wing, particularly in recent weeks, has earned the praise of Davidson.
“It’s a bit of a fight sometimes between myself and Lachie Watts to decide on which side we get,” Braithwaite said.
“It’s good fun.”
Braithwaite’s dash also saw the environmental science graduate earn a late call up to Wimmera’s senior interleague side.
Dimboola is eyeing back-to-back finals campaigns.
Sitting fourth, the Roos are well placed and Braithwaite credits extra depth, with the inclusions of Tom Magee, Matt Magee, Chris Coulthurst, Luke Byrne, Nigel Sibson and Peter MacFarlane, for the side’s inner confidence.
“We’ve got to string four quarters together but I think we’re as good a side as any out there,” he said.
“Horsham is still the benchmark but I am glad Horsham is up there and ahead of everyone else because it gives us a good challenge.”
Another handy inclusion will be Braithwaite’s brother Elliot who is on the cusp of returning from a knee reconstruction and will fill a midfield role or play across half forward.
“He’s started training and is looking at returning in a few weeks,” he said.
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