Star GIANTS midfielder Ryan Griffen has shed five kilos over summer after admitting he was overweight and inconsistent last season.
Griffen, 29, played 21 games in his first season for the GIANTS last year – his highest games tally since 2011 – but his 433 possessions was his lowest mark since his injury-affected 2007 season when he managed just 10 appearances.
The dynamic GIANT finished inside the top 10 at the club's best and fairest despite being heavily tagged across the first half of the season, but only showed glimpses of the player who at his best with the Dogs in 2013, was regarded as one of the most devastating ball carriers in the game.
The All Australian and dual Bulldogs' club champion, who looks noticeably slimmer, told AFL.com.au that he's worked closely with the GWS dietician and fitness staff to ensure he was in peak condition for the 2016 season.
"I wasn't fat but I was probably a bit overweight, so I got a different weights program this year and I've come back running a lot better," Griffen said.
"Last year I got too big and was playing too heavy, so I've dropped 4-5 kilos.
"When you're playing and training at 90 kilos instead of 85 or 86 (kilos) … it makes a huge difference, you move a lot better and it's not as hard on your knees and your legs.
"I needed to drop those kilos and now I feel 10 times better.
"I haven't missed a session and I'm feeling good so I'm excited about the games (starting)."
Click here to watch our interview with Ryan Griffen in last week's pre-season show
Griffen denied that he carried the lower back issues that burdened him in his final season at the Bulldogs into 2015, but conceded that changing his footy base from Melbourne to Sydney had taken time to adjust.
The South Australian – who has played 223 games in 11 seasons – said that his life off the field was now all in order and his second club felt like home.
"My girlfriend of seven years moved here two months ago so that’s definitely helped," Griffen said.
"I feel a lot more comfortable around the footy club now, the first pre-season I was getting to know people and every club has their differences so it was challenging.
"Now I've settled in and I've made some really close mates now so it's really enjoyable just coming to the footy club.
"The bonds that you form with your teammates really help.
"It's a big move coming from another club that you've been at for over 10 years and moving your life to a different state has it's challenges, but I'm settled now and I can just concentrate on my footy."
A trimmed down Griffen intends on starting the year in the GIANTS’ midfield but after spending time in defence at the back end of last season with plenty of success, he expects to fill both roles this year.
With Callan Ward, Dylan Shiel, Stephen Coniglio and Devon Smith giving coach Leon Cameron plenty of inside options, and Tom Scully, Lachie Whitfield and Josh Kelly there to provide outside run, Griffen knows his spot on the field could change on a weekly basis.
"I'm training to play in the midfield but I'll definitely be playing half-back at some stage to break it up," he said.
"I want to get back to being a consistent footballer, last year I was up and down a lot and that was really disappointing on my behalf.
"Over the last few years I've been pretty consistent and I want to get back to that."