Ruckman shows smaller players he's no slouch

KING KONG: Steven King leads the boys on a 3km time trial at the Cats' first pre-season run for 2003 yesterday. Photo: MIKE DUGDALE

Tuesday, January 7

BIG men aren't supposed to outshine their smaller counterparts when it comes to distance running but someone forgot to tell that to Geelong's ruckman Steven King.

At the Cats first pre-season run for the year King proved almost indefatigable in the three kilometre time trial, beaten only by David Spriggs in the first of two heats.

It was enough for coach Mark Thompson to declare him a ``freak''.

``He's got good speed and good endurance, and he's 108 kilos, so he's put five kilos on as well,'' he said.

And he still had breath after finishing.

King had barely paused for breath after finishing the trial before he turned to start yelling encouragement to his team mates doing it a bit tougher behind him.

``The track was probably a bit tougher than what I've been training on but I'm not the quickest bloke going around so I try and make sure that I can be a bit better at the longer stuff,'' he said.

It may have only been two weeks since they broke for Christmas but King said he was impressed with the way many of the players had presented themselves for the first training drill of the year.

``I was very impressed with the way most of the boys came back and looked,'' he said.

``Obviously it (the time trial) isn't everyone's test but the boys really pushed themselves as quick as they could go.

``We haven't done a heap of longer work but I'm sure by the end of January the boys will be even fitter again.''

Jarad Rooke and James Kelly finished just behind King in the first heat, with the pair two of the standouts returning, King said.

``Rooky has put on a few and Kel is just naturally bulking up a bit more as well,'' he said.

``They both ran pretty well too. It's a bit rough when you put on a few kilos to try and keep your running at the same level but as they get a bit stronger it should get a bit easier.''

Although it had only been a two-week break King said he was glad to be back into the swing of training.

``I couldn't think of anything better to do than to come back with a group of good mates and get back into training and I think most of the other boys have the same type of enthusiasm for it,'' he said.

``It's weird when you spend all that time together then when you're away for two weeks . . . you don't really miss each other but you feel a bit lost and so it's good to be back.''