tmedia
Main content

'We move on pretty quick', Dogs turn focus to 2017

Nat Edwards (AFL Media)  December 31, 2016 8:10 AM

Bulldogs Go A Paddlin' The Bulldogs hit the water in kayak's at Airey's Inlet as part of their pre-Christmas training camp in Lorne. Armed with a GoPro, Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen takes you onboard his craft for the trip with paddling partner Shane Biggs.

THE PROSPECT of achieving back-to-back flags isn't being used as motivation at the Whitten Oval this pre-season.

Just three months after clinching the club's first premiership in 62 years, the Western Bulldogs have already put their historic flag behind them.

In fact, coach Luke Beveridge hasn't even spoken about the Grand Final since the players arrived back at the club for pre-season training.  

"We move on pretty quick," premiership hero Liam Picken told AFL.com.au.

"We haven't mentioned going back-to-back because it's a new season with new challenges, we don't look back. We want to look forward and because we've come back later we've just been concentrating on training really well."

Picken is well aware the Bulldogs will be the hunted in 2017, and knows the Dogs will have to raise the bar again.

On an individual note, the 30-year-old also knows he has areas of his game that need improvement.

Picken had a stunning finals series and was instrumental on Grand Final day with 25 disposals and three goals.

He hopes to recapture that form on a more consistent basis next season, but is none the wiser on whether he'll continue to play up forward.

"Our side is going to change a fair bit so I'm not really sure where I'll play or what role I'll have next year," he said.

"All I can do is train in a number of areas in preparation. Ever since Bevo has come in, I've had a few different roles. It helps you and rejuvenates you a little bit.

"I suppose when you play the same role for six or seven years, when you get a new role it's refreshing and exciting."

Picken will be entering his ninth year at the Bulldogs after being drafted in 2009 at the age of 22.

It will also be the final year of his contract following a two-year extension, which was signed in 2015.

Despite turning 30 in August, Picken feels he is still at the peak of his powers.

His body is extremely durable, having missed only three games through injury in the past three years, so it's no surprise he hasn't contemplated retirement.

He has however prepared himself for life after football, whenever that eventuates.

"I think the advantage of starting football late means I haven't been in the system as long compared to guys who were drafted at 18," Picken said.

"Every pre-season I feel good and mentally fresh. I was lucky enough to go to university before I was drafted and then I continued studying while playing footy.

"Your footy career can end in a heartbeat so you need to prepare yourself off the field. But I don't like to look too far ahead. While I'm still able to play football and I want to just enjoy it and try to get the most out of myself."

Picken has a commerce degree under his belt and has also completed further post-graduate studies.