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Stocker: Fitness a focus

Fast 5 | Liam Stocker Here are five things you may not know about new Blue Liam Stocker.

CARLTON draftee Liam Stocker has been doing running sessions with Fremantle young gun Andrew Brayshaw in an effort to improve his fitness base ahead of his first AFL pre-season.

Last week's pick No.19 at the NAB AFL Draft recently described a "confronting" interview with Richmond, where the Tigers challenged the midfielder on his lack of endurance.

It sparked Stocker into action, with the teenager calling upon his old Haileybury and Sandringham Dragons teammate Brayshaw for advice on how to improve his tank.

With Brayshaw in Melbourne recovering following a broken jaw – and with Stocker in rehab due to a shoulder injury – the pair set about getting a head start on the 2019 pre-season.

 

"Once I was allowed to run again I stole Andy's midfield program," Stocker said.

"I started toiling away at that and doing a bit of gym work. I tried mainly to do rehab on the shoulder to make sure it wasn't an issue when I got here, so that's what I've done.

"I think my running still has a little bit to go, but I'm sure (Blues high-performance manager) Andrew Russell will have a bit to say about that as well. It's certainly still my weakness."

 

Stocker could get the chance to immediately prove himself to Richmond recruiters, with Carlton set to meet its old rivals in their annual season-opening clash at the MCG next year.

Should he earn a round one debut, the big-bodied onballer is ready to show the Tigers how much he has improved his running base since they last met.

"I've always played with a chip on my shoulder," Stocker said.

"I don't mind it when I've got a little bit more motivation to go with it.

"They certainly made me very aware of what my weaknesses were, and I think I probably needed it at that stage. You can go too far in TAC Cup footy getting told how good you are and not getting told what your weaknesses are, so I certainly needed it."

Carlton traded up to secure Stocker following an impressive TAC Cup season in which the midfielder averaged 22 disposals and 5.6 clearances per game to win the Morrish Medal.

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The Blues had initially told the youngster they wouldn't be able to take him at the draft due to their lack of picks – having started the night with picks No.1, 69, 71 and 77.

However, the club traded its first-round selection next year to secure pick No.19 and Adelaide's future first-round pick, taking Stocker in a bid to boost its midfield depth.

"I went into the night preparing to go interstate," Stocker said.

"There was a little bit of talk of other clubs being interested late in the first round, but I certainly didn't have the heads up about it.

"They gave me a bit of interest, but they said, 'Look, we don't have a pick around your range and unfortunately that's the way it's going to be.' I really didn't expect it, to be honest."