Bigger and better......Crisp, Dale aim to make their mark in 2013

TWO of Myrtleford's footballing sons didn't have much respite after their debut seasons in the AFL and looking back, it was the best experience of their short careers at the elite level.

Frazer Dale and Jack Crisp were back with clubs Carlton and Brisbane respectively last week for the start of pre-season training.

The lads had spent plenty of time back in Myrtleford with family and friends before getting back into the grind.

This time last year, the pair was focused on winning selection in the upcoming national draft, but had to wait until December 2011 before being added to rookie lists and were recently signed to another year as rookies.

For Dale, he had to wait until round 17 against the Bulldogs to get an unexpected call-up to the senior side and went on to play against Richmond the following week in a nail-biter.

"The way it all panned out I was in the right spot at the right time and got my opportunity," he said.

"I really enjoyed it, it was challenging but really rewarding after playing a couple of games and getting a taste of AFL.

"It was awesome to have family and friends come and watch the games and being in a winning side both times was a good experience."

Dale thrived being thrust into such a professional environment late last year and this year he worked closely with development coach Darren Harris and especially Jordan Russell, who's now departed to fierce rival, Collingwood.

"He (Russell) was my mentor in my first year...he was a really good role model for me, outside of footy as well," he said.

"In my first few weeks, he helped me settle in, getting to know the schedule and other things...he also helped me out in the VFL watching my tapes.

"Going through the vision and chatting about my game helped me a lot."

The much-maligned Brett Ratten was axed as senior coach amid a media frenzy in September and former Eagles and Collingwood mentor Mick Malthouse has been brought into the club in the hope he can deliver a long-awaited 17th flag for the Blues.

"I've heard what he's like with people and he's won premierships, so it's going to be a great experience," Dale said.

Going from Calder Cannons to Carlton resulted in Dale's approach to football altering rapidly and radically as the 2012 season unfolded.

"My football improved out of sight," he said.

"I was looking at some of my tapes recently from the year I was drafted and my game has completely changed.


 P.S.- Jack & Frazer are two former W&DJFL players.

EXCITED: Jack Crisp and Frazer Dale.

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