A fitter, stronger and faster Brenton Philp says he is more determined than ever to reach his goals.
And he is backing himself to make the next step as a football player.
The Brisbane Lions Academy member has trimmed this pre-season with the aim of clawing into the Queensland Scorpions under-16 team this year.
Fuelled by the disappointment of missing state selection last year, plenty of running and a new diet has helped the Bay Power youngster shed 19kg in six months and reduce his weight to 65kg.
"I got a lot of criticism from my coaches and my development coach Rob Searle, and I think I just wanted to be healthier really," he said.
"I realised over the summer break last year I put on a bit of weight and the position I play I am not going to be a big person so I have to be small, lean and agile and carrying an extra 20kg isn't going to help."
His ball accumulation and aggression was never at question, but the small midfielder's lack of speed off the mark and fitness has anchored him in the eyes of Queensland selectors.
Excited about the upcoming year, the 16-year-old said he was primed to fulfil his wish of playing for Queensland.
"I'm confident I can do it and I believe I can do it," he said.
"I think I lost a lot of belief in myself when I didn't make the Queensland team last year.
"Because there was no opens AFL team in schools, so 15 was the top age you can be, I thought 'I've missed out on this' and was cut.
"But my attitude has changed now and my approach to football is a lot better."
Bay Power coach Joey Johnstone anticipates the Urangan State High School student to make his senior debut this year.
But Philp's focus for now is firmly fixed on representative football.
"I really want to make the Queensland team. I am really focusing on getting in that because this is my best chance to get through," he said.
"(If I make it) it will mean a lot.
"I think just to wear the Queensland jersey is a huge honour and to earn the respect from all my coaches and everyone around me."
It has been a rapid rise for Philp since he first laced up a pair of footy boots seven years ago.
A natural born leader, his representative honours include Wide Bay, Suncoast Power and Queensland Country schoolboys in 2009 and 2012.
He also captained his club's first and only premiership team, leading the Power to victory in the Wide Bay under-15 grand final last year.
Success on the field and natural progression has contributed to his improvement as a player, but Philp said being a part of the Lions Academy the past two years has given his development a huge kick-along and a better understanding of the game.
"It has made me realise the fitness component you need and how much work you need to put in to get there (AFL)," he said.
When did you start playing Aussie rules: Seven years ago.
How much time does it consume of your life: I train a minimum one hour a day.
Who do you admire or aspire to be like: Adam Goodes for his leadership and Jarryd Blair for his position and size.
Person you look up to the most: My stepfather, Darren Hooker.
Best piece of advice: If you set your mind to it, then you can do it.
Career highlight: Winning two league best and fairest awards in two years (2010 and 2011) and runner-up the next year (2012), which made me realise that I need to step it up.
What is your goal for 2013: Make the Queensland Scorpions under-16 team.
Ultimate dream: Be drafted by any AFL club - I would be absolutely stoked.
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