Former Midfielder Tom Pondeljak Named Fittest Ever Player In The A-league | Men's Health Magazine Australia

Former Midfielder Tom Pondeljak Named Fittest Ever Player In The A-league

Clark, who also had a stint in the Australian top flight league, joined the Fox Football Podcast with Daniel Garb and Simon Hill, where he explained that Pondeljak possessed an aerobic capacity like no other. And he’d even hit the durries straight after. 

“I worked with Tom Pondeljak,” Clark told the hosts. 

“This guy sat with a bunger (cigarette) in his mouth after training and after games.”

According to the former defender, Pondeljak actually had a deformity that ended up helping excel on the paddock.

“Back in those days they were a bit more like guinea pigs as an experiment, but this guy could run. I could not make him breathe or tire him out. We found out later that he actually had an oversized heart.”

“Tommy could run and anyone that played with him would say that he could just run and run and run and run. It was just a gift that he had. It’s a different type of fitness and I know that’s a really left-of-field person to pick,” Clark added.

“The Pharlap of Australian football,” Garb added.

When it comes to the current crop of players, there’s one Sydney FC defender who draws comparison to a premier league workhorse. 

“You look at (Andy) Robertson for Liverpool and it’s a similar kind of beast to Rhyan Grant. The high intensity efforts just keep on going and going,” Clark continued. 

“Fitness comes in lots of different things. Some people have the ability to accelerate a lot of times while some people have the ability to do a lot of high speed metres — it depends on the makeup of the player and whether they’re a fast-twitch or a slow-twitch type player.

“Brad Smith gets through a ridiculous amount of metres in a game. Mathew Leckie, he can churn out high-speed metres like crazy. There’s lots a of different beasts, (James) Jeggo is fit too, he can run. Easy to work with.”

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