Collingwood dynamo Jordan De Goey is looking to Christian Petracca's rise to superstar status for inspiration as he attempts to enter his eighth AFL season in the best shape of his career.
Explosive midfielder/forwards Petracca and De Goey were Vic Metro under-18 teammates and taken at picks No.2 and No.5 respectively at the 2014 AFL Draft.
But while De Goey's standout 48-goal 2018 season has so far been the peak of an exciting but inconsistent 118-game career, Petracca has kicked on to become a two-time All Australian, a premiership winner and a Norm Smith Medallist.
De Goey recently jetted overseas to spend more than a month training at the W Training Facility in California in a bid to take his fitness to another level.
"Yeah for sure (I was inspired by Petracca's rise)," De Goey told SEN Breakfast.
"Christian is the standout from this year and I've known Christian for a long time and he just took his game to a whole new level, which was really exciting to see and it was great to watch him do that.
"That's definitely something I want to do.
"To be honest, in Australia your fitness almost just seems to plateau because you're doing a lot of the same stuff.
"So I'm feeling really refreshed mentally, physically, so ready to attack next year."
De Goey, who comes out of contract at the end of 2022, will be a free agent and is expected to attract heavy interest.
He said he decided to head to California, where his training under Johnny Louch has included intense fitness work but also mountain biking, towards the end of last season.
"When the opportunity arose I just jumped at it," De Goey said.
"I thought it was a great idea to be able to mix up my training - because it's shocking what's going on Australia at the moment with the COVID stuff but it does make it hard to train.
"Being over here you have a lot more access to different gyms and also trails and activities."
The 25-year-old - who averaged 21 disposals and three clearances in 2021 and finished fourth in Collingwood's best and fairest - expected to reap on-field rewards.
"Definitely this'll be the best shape I've come back in," he said.
"I think mentally as well I'll be in a really good head space, being able to come over here and do something new and meet some really good people ... and obviously physically I'm sure I'll be fit too."
Australian Associated Press