Enjoying days under the Sun

A TIGHT hamstring has kept him from getting a senior start with Gold Coast this preseason, but that has hasn't dampened Kade Kolodjashnij's ability to feel comfortable with life at the highest level.

Having an assurance from your coach that you are a big part of your club's plans for the season has helped, but a familiar face has also made the transition all the more easier.

One of the factors in his adjustment has been the help of fellow Launceston Football Club graduate Jesse Lonergan, who was drafted in 2012.

``Going up there and already knowing someone like Jesse was a huge help,'' the 18-year-old said during a quick trip home to Launceston last week, that included catching up with some of his former Launceston teammates at Windsor Park.

``He's really taken me under his wing and has been helping me out a bit. 

``There was nothing specific that he's really said to me it's just that he's been there for me as he's been through the same situation as me moving away from home, so he's been there to give me any advice.''

Kolodjashnij, who is very much in the Grant Birchall-mould as a running defender off half-back, said his resting from the new-look preseason was a precaution.

``Bluey [coach Guy McKenna] has said I'll probably get a couple games in the reserves to see how I go and then look to be in early on in the year, maybe around round 5 or so.

``It was just simple tightness, but they didn't want to push me as they've told me they want me to be there long-term, not short-term.''

The preseason has been a learning experience for Tasmania's top draft selection last year [at no.5].

But the highly rated youngster, who averaged 27 touches at a disposal efficiency rate of 75 per cent with four rebound 50s a match in the under-18 championships, said the increase in intensity was one that he was expecting.

``I have to train every day now as it's my job,'' he said.

``Preparation and recovery is just so important and you can be found out pretty easy if you are not switched on and you haven't prepared well.

``I feel like I belong in the AFL system, as I can match it with some of the players at the Gold Coast and I do feel I belong at the club and that I can play senior football this year.

``I thought it might take some time, but from day one I've felt at home, and the boys have been good at making me feel like I'm part of the club.''

Kolodjashnij, who is living with a host family and fellow first-year players Jack Leslie and Sean Lemmens, said he was loving life in the Sunshine state, even though adapting to living away from family, including twin brother Jake at Geelong, and friends had been tough.

Being part of one of the AFL's most exciting young groups makes it all worth it.

``It's an exciting time for the club, as it's the first full preseason that a lot of the other players have done as previously they've had younger bodies,'' he said.

``It's a talented young group, and in years to come I reckon it will be one of the best midfield groups if we stick together.''

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