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Adelaide best and fairest Reilly O’Brien says he’s fully invested in helping the Crows off the bottom of the ladder

The recent upsurge in Brisbane and even at cross-town rivals Port Adelaide are the blueprint Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien sees for the Crows to “challenge for premierships” in the next five years.

O’Brien was given the first real security in his career this week in the form of a four-year-contract which the reigning best and fairest declared ensured he could stop worrying about himself and fully invest in re-building the Crows “from the ground up”.

Adelaide’s number one ruckman, O’Brien was met with hugs and handshakes galore when he revealed details of his long-term deal to his teammates and on Friday reiterated his dedication to a fast return for last year’s wooden spooners to the AFL heavyweight conversation.

He said the Lions, who finished last in 2017 and were preliminary finalists last year, showed how quickly young lists can make the leap.

“We’ve got the youngest group in the league and you look at teams like Brisbane a few years ago and plenty of those examples, even Port Adelaide where they were five or six years ago, we want to get up in the top four consistently and pressing for premierships,” O’Brien said.

“Hopefully we can build towards that …build a strong culture and a strong foundation to consistently do that.

“Hopefully we can take a big step forward this year. It’s the second year of having Nicksy (coach Matthew Nicks) on board. We want to get there as quickly as possible, we are impatient in that.”

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The 25-year-old, who has played 35 of his 37 career games in the past two season, said it was a “huge relief” to get his contract signed.

Having gone two years without a senior game, he’s not stranger to the hard work and commitment needed to make improvement.

O’Brien said his next five years at the Crows would be dedicated to making that improvement, bot as a player, as a team, and as a club.

“It appeals to be, being part of something from the ground up and building this footy club back to where it needs to be,” he said.

“Other guys signing the last few weeks too, like Lairdy (Rory Laird), it’s awesome to have those guys commit and I think there will be a few more to come.

“Adelaide is where I want to be. Getting that long-term security, knowing I am going to be here for the next five years, it really allow me to get outside myself, not worry about myself, and invest in the group. I can continue to really invest in others.”

O’Brien also said that after his breakthrough season 2020 he still thinks he has an ace up his sleeve to “exploit” his opponents this year. he thought this yea

“It was different last year with the shorter quarters, but I fee like fitness is one of my strengths compared to other ruckmen so I’ll look to exploit that and try and stay on as long as I can with less rotations allowed,” he said.

“I’m pretty happy to play pretty lengthy stints, really grind it out and expose other ruckmen later in the game.

“I feel really confident going in to the season. I can’t wait for Round 1.”

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