Having looked to transition more into a midfield role in recent years, Luke McDonald will put those ambitions on the back-burner in 2019, as he focuses on perfecting his defensive craft.

McDonald, who has played 96 games in his five-seasons in the AFL, has spent much of the summer training-block with the defenders, and expects to feature there heavily.

“I think the biggest thing for me this pre-season has been playing in the backline and getting that continuity of playing in the same position,” McDonald told North Media.

“I’ve been doing every session, I have been working with the defenders, and I absolutely love playing with those boys down there, it’s a bit of a team within a team.”

The 24-year-old has been a stand-out performer in recent months, constantly amongst the best in the group’s running-blocks and match simulations.

A focus on improving his running and diet has led to McDonald losing weight, which he felt was weighing him down in 2018.

“I’ve lost a fair bit of weight compared to previous years,” he said.

“I felt that I couldn’t run like I was able to last year, so I think that’s probably been the biggest change.

“I’ve been eating a lot better, getting in the kitchen and cooking a bit more with Taylor Garner, so it’s been good to lose a bit of weight, I’m feeling pretty good.”