Jarrad Waite credits his new North Melbourne training regime with his most consistent season of AFL football.
In his first season at Arden Street, Waite has already played in more wins this year than any of his 12 seasons with Carlton.
The 32-year-old has missed just one match this year and is writing a new chapter in a career previously defined by injuries.
Waite says he has the fitness staff at the Kangaroos to thank.
“It’s the leg work,” he said.
“I’m strong in the legs, got a great fitness base and it’s given me that continuity.
“Different exercises I’ve been taught, it’s helped my back out and other areas of the body.
“They way they managed me here is really really good and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for a long, long while.”
Having Waite as a prong in a multi-dimensional forward line has helped the Roos to six straight AFL wins – a current league best – ahead of their meeting with Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Both sides are short of their best 22s due to suspensions.
Jack Ziebell and Alex Silvagni will miss for ill-discipline.
Fremantle have also left Matthew Pavlich in Perth, but have promoted Luke McPharlin and Zac Dawson.
Kangaroos coach Brad Scott has dropped Taylor Garner, with Jamie Macmillan and Ryan Bastinac coming in.
Despite sitting four wins below the Dockers, North Melbourne start healthy favourites against the league leaders, which Waite says he’s surprised to hear.
North Melbourne’s wins have all come against sides unlikely to play finals, and Waite says the team is itching to have a crack at a top side again.
“At this time of the year, managing to win six in a row is great,” he said.
“But those top four teams, that’s where you want to be.
“Having them over here is a good benefit but we know we need to bring our pressure and our style of play if we’re to take it up to them.”