IT’S slow but steady progress this pre-season for Hawthorn draftee Ryan Burton.

After joining the club with pick 19 in last year’s NAB AFL Draft, the 19-year-old has been gradually building his fitness base, as he looks to make a return to the field after more than a year out of the game.

Burton, who broke his leg during a match in 2014, has continued to improve over the pre-season and hopes he can return to football soon.

“It’s been pretty good so far,” he told

“My knee’s obviously still a work in progress, so I haven’t been able to do as much as I could have.

“Over the past few weeks it’s been slowly coming good, and I’ve been able to train a bit more and hopefully I can play a few games soon.”

Burton was back in the swing of things at training on Monday.

“I was back for my first full session today,” he said.

“We played a couple of small-sided games, so it was good to get back into that, and a lot of goal-kicking. We did a lot of fundamental stuff, kicking, handballing and a bit of touch.”

Standing at 191 centimetres, the South Australian product has been touted as a key forward in the mould of teammate Jack Gunston.

While he hasn’t been able to do 100 percent of the skills training since Christmas, there’s no doubt he’s been putting in the hard yards at every opportunity.

“I’ve been doing heaps of boxing, swimming, extra weights and doing a bit of line running,” Burton said.

“You definitely don’t get a break… I’d rather be out there with the boys, but I’m still getting a good work out.”

Not that he’s back into skills training, it’s a matter of preparing for action.

“I’ve tried to keep my skills up as much as I can, but obviously I haven’t been able to test them out in a game for a while,” Burton said.

“I want to play as soon as possible, but I’ll just keep doing what the fitness staff say, and hopefully I can build towards the start of the VFL season.”


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