MATTHEW Kreuzer may have won Carlton's 'trainer of the week' award, but the Blues are already thinking about the kind of impact he can make in a modified role up forward in 2015.
Kreuzer managed just one game in 2014, a season ruined by a fracture in his foot that stemmed from a similar injury sustained in the 2013 elimination final against Richmond.
The Blues big man has set himself to make amends for his extended absence last year and has certainly caught the eye of Blues coach Mick Malthouse for his fine work on the training track this pre-season.
Kreuzer, who wore a fluoro yellow cap to signify his training deeds, has been slated to spend more time in the forward line next year as the Blues look to replace the goalscoring power of the departed Jarrad Waite and Jeff Garlett.
"He's going to have to find a new role," Malthouse said at Visy Park on Monday.
"We want him to play a lot of football forward and ruck, and he's undertaken that program to dedicate himself to be able to catch the football, put a bit of pressure on the tall backs and kick some goals."
In contrast to last year, the No. 1 pick from the 2007 NAB AFL Draft has been a constant presence on the training track and appeared to move quite freely during drills on Monday.
He is in full contact training and it is hoped he will be available for the Blues' NAB Challenge campaign, which begins with a first-up meeting with West Coast in Mandurah on February 27.
"It's such a great bonus for the football club (to have Kreuzer fit)," Malthouse said.
"We keep hearing about his nicknames, and so forth, and one of them's 'Tractor' – he just keeps going.
"We've been delighted the way he's come up."
The Blues had 19 players undergo post-season surgeries ahead of last summer, but those numbers have been drastically reduced leading into 2015.
Carlton's focus on individual training programs was paying off, Malthouse said.
"[Dale Thomas] had no pre-season last year and he finished last year with an injury so he needed to get a good pre-season," he said.
"As did Kreuzer who hasn't had a pre-season, apparently ever.
"It was important for them to get specialised type training."