Hoppers work mind and body

JASON Akermanis has officially started the mind games at Bunton Park.

Sports psychologist Dr Phil Jauncey, who worked with Akermanis at the Brisbane Lions during the AFL club’s glory days, spoke to players at training last night as the Hoppers stepped up their preparation for the start of the Ovens and Murray season.

It was his third visit to the club.

“We have been individually psych-tested and it seems to work and make so much sense,” skipper Dan Leslie said yesterday.

“He’s been down a few times now.

“Aker said he wanted to be the most professional club and I guess this is part of it.

“We have had a dietician here as well.

“It’s been good. It’s been a different preseason but a really enjoyable one.”

Dr Jauncey has spent time with the Brisbane Lions, Australian and Queensland cricket teams, Australian canoeing and kayak squad, Australian baseball team and the Brisbane Broncos.

He became a confidant of Akermanis at the Lions when the midfielder stamped himself as one of the AFL’S best players by winning the Brownlow Medal in 2001.

North Albury has had more than 40 at training most nights with track insiders saying Leslie is enjoying a new lease of life after shouldering a huge workload for several seasons.

The arrival of full-forward Adam Prior from East Perth will give the Hoppers one of the most potent key forward set-ups in the competition.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“We have picked up some good players and the numbers have been great.”