Suns star rediscovers his appetite to succeed
GOLD Coast defender Kade Kolodjashnij is busting his gut to get back to his form of 2015.
It's fortunate said gut is now back in perfect working order.
After finishing second in the Suns' best and fairest in just his second season at age 19, Kolodjashnij endured an horrendous 2016.
He only missed three senior games but was severely hampered by a "mysterious gut problem that kept flaring up".
Kolodjashnij was hospitalised twice throughout the year as doctors tried to work out what the cause was.
"It was pretty painful," he said.
In the end, it was believed he was suffering from a partially blocked bowel.
And while Kolodjashnij avoided surgery, he got to work researching the stomach by reading best-selling book Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ by scientist Giulia Enders.
Given to him by Suns fitness guru Justin Cordy, Kolodjashnij said it provided a "real insight into little things", and led to him "changing up" his diet to help with digestion.
"I haven't had any interruptions since," he said.
"I was crook a few weeks ago and missed the game against North Melbourne but that had nothing to do with my guts.
"That's all in the past now."
The Tasmanian's numbers are now up around his 2015 output - averaging 22 disposals and a career-high 7.8 marks per match.
"I'm slowly getting there," he said.
"I'd like to play a bit better. I don't think I'm back to my 2015 form yet, just need that consistency in my game.
"I've just got to keep working hard."
Kolodjashnij avoided any setbacks in his recovery while with the Suns in Shanghai.
But while he was one of the Suns' best in gathering 26 touches, he laments the on-field performance the side served up against Port Adelaide, losing by 72 points.
"It ended up being a blowout, which was pretty disappointing. It was a bitter feeling going into the bye with that sort of result," he said.
"They just beat us at the footy. We didn't apply enough pressure
"(But) we've done our review and had a really good week on the training track."
The Suns (3-6) will look to bounce back against Melbourne on Saturday. They are away again - not quite as far away as China, but Alice Springs taking on the "hosts" Melbourne.
The Demons (4-5) have been patchy. They lost to North Melbourne last week, but beat ladder-leader Adelaide the round prior.
"It's going to be a tough game, that's for sure," Kolodjashnij said.
Melbourne great Garry Lyon said earlier in the week his former club should make a play for uncontracted Sun Steve May.
Kolodjashnij understandably hopes his skipper will resist any move.
"You just know what you're going to get from him every week," he said.
"Hard at it, hardly ever loses his one-on-ones. Provides that leadership to the whole group ... the back six especially.
"All the boys have huge respect for the way he plays. Hopefully he re-signs."