The docs and physios have done a great job of fixing my ankle and getting it right
IT’S INCREDIBLE to think that Sam Blease will be entering his fifth AFL-listed season in 2013.
At best, it seems like three.
But given that he suffered a career threatening broken leg in his first season – after being drafted at No. 17 in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft – and did not make his AFL debut until round 15, 2011, it could be argued that 2013 is his ‘third’ AFL season.
Having finally overcome his leg issues, plus a niggling Achilles and tight back which followed, Blease managed to play 16 matches in 2012, including Melbourne’s last 15 matches. He will now start this season with 21 games to his name.
And importantly, Blease has the confidence to build on his exciting career in 2013.
“Last pre-season was difficult for me, as I wasn’t coming off much of a base. Having a full year of playing AFL footy has been good for my development, and it’s put me in good stead for 2013,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“I’ve been able to take big strides, with still a fair bit of improvement to go, which is exciting for me.
“Hopefully, I can be of value to the side up on the wing and one day in the middle, so these pre-seasons are good for me.”
Although Blease acknowledged the scars of his leg injury would remain in the back of his mind, he genuinely felt this was the first year where it was not at the forefront of his thoughts.
“That was four years ago now,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“The docs and physios have done a great job of fixing my ankle and getting it right.
“Now it’s just about getting my conditioning in and getting my game to another level this year.”
Blease said he had worked closely with director of sports performance Neil Craig, who had been particularly helpful with his training methods.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence going into training. I’ve locked in pretty closely with Neil Craig and we’ve been working together at maximising every training session,” he said.
“I’ve found that’s been really helpful for my development, particularly going into games with a different mindset.
“Hopefully, I can take some of that form last year and put it into this year … and be a little more consistent, which would be good.”