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St Kilda lures fitness chief Davoren in search for higher plane

ST KILDA'S desire for a fitness chief who would pursue the altitude training pioneered by Collingwood was a factor in its hiring of a new high-performance manager, Bill Davoren, from the Western Bulldogs.

The Saints were keen to take a different tack in their conditioning and offered Davoren a three-year contract to leave Whitten Oval, where he spent the past four years heading up the Dogs' fitness regime.

Davoren's background as former head of the Australian triathlon team and altitude training was seen by the club as suitable, as it prepares for a pre-season altitude camp in Colorado in late November.

The shift of Davoren from the Dogs to St Kilda continues the merry-go-round of fitness chiefs among clubs, St Kilda's previous high-performance head, Peter Burge, having moved to Richmond. Burge had been at St Kilda only for one season, having taken over from current Melbourne conditioning boss David Misson, but worked at Hawthorn under Andrew Russell for seven years before the Saints.

The Saints emphasised speed and power to a greater degree under Burge, who was confirmed as the replacement for long-time fitness man Matt Hornsby by the Tigers.

''His considerable experience in managing elite athletes, combined with his knowledge of altitude training principles, will further enhance the training environment for our playing group,'' St Kilda coach Scott Watters said of Davoren.