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Most users ever online was 43 on June 6th 2010, 11:21 pm

Not even iron-man Rutten can play every minute

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Not even iron-man Rutten can play every minute

Post by CJCorka on April 8th 2010, 7:28 am

ADELAIDE defender Ben Rutten says it is nearly impossible to repeat his remarkable feat of last season by playing almost every minute of every game in 2010.

Rutten, 26, played more minutes in the 2009 premiership season than any other player in the competition, spending a total of just five minutes on the bench.

The burly full back, who hasn’t missed a game since round eight, 2008, was one of 11 players across the League not to come off the ground in round one this season.

By the end of round two that number had halved, with only five players - Rutten, Fremantle’s Chris Tarrant, St Kilda’s James Gwilt and Collingwood pair Harry O’Brien and Nick Maxwell - still boasting 100 per cent game time.

Interestingly enough, all five players are defenders for their respective sides.

In years gone by, full backs like Rutten only ventured out of the goal square to change ends, but in the modern game they are required to cover up to 13 kilometres a match.

Rutten said the increased physical demands of today’s game, coupled with greater defensive roles played by forwards, would see defenders rotated through the bench more than ever.

"I haven’t come off the ground in previous years, but it’s definitely getting harder to play out whole games," he said.

"With the way forwards are pressuring defensively these days their work rate is up and they need to have time on the bench to recover.

"The forwards might go off for a two-minute rest and if I don’t get a rest too, I have to keep up with fresh guys coming on and off the ground. Defenders have to have a high level of fitness to be able to play on these guys that are coming on and off.

"Defenders’ numbers are pretty similar to the midfielders in terms of distance covered. We’re on the ground longer, so the intensity isn’t as high but the ground covered is pretty similar."

After the Crows’ loss to Fremantle in round one, coach Neil Craig declared the speed of game had gone up "another notch" on last season.

Rutten said the first quarter of the round one clash with Freo was arguably the quickest he’d ever played.

"The speed has definitely gone up again and that’s the way footy is going because it’s the way St Kilda and Geelong play and other teams always try and emulate what the best teams are doing," he said.

"The Bulldogs have been playing that style as well and having some good success, so I think you’ll see a lot more of that throughout the year."

Standing at 191cm and weighing 99kg, it should come as no surprise that Rutten isn't one of the fastest players in the Adelaide line-up.

A spike in the number of interchanges will only contribute to the speed of the game getting even faster and the All-Australian defender said the Crows had made specific changes to their pre-season training program to help the players keep up pace with the competition.

"We’ve shortened up the bits of running we do to make sure we’re constantly tapping into that top-end speed, rather than doing the longer sort of runs," he said.

"That’s how we condition our bodies to make sure we get used to running at high speeds.

"The interchanges have been ramping up for years now and the teams that do it the best are the ones that can keep fresh players on keep going at that high speed."

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