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‘A nice sting’ helped Pedersen in 2014

Matt Burgan  October 9, 2014 6:54 PM

Cameron Pedersen season review Cam Pedersen speaks to Matt Burgan abour his 2014 season

KEY forward Cameron Pedersen says “a nice sting” was pivotal to him having his best AFL season so far in 2014.

Pedersen, who took his game to another level this year, playing 19 matches, said it was a genuine wake-up call.

“After the first year, I had a pretty tough end-of-year discussion with a few of the recruiting staff and they were disappointed in my efforts and I was disappointed as well,” he told Dee TV.  

“[I] got a ‘a nice sting’ prior to coming back fitter than I’ve been before, which I was able to do and luckily my body’s held up and I’ve been able to do everything.  

“I did the most training sessions out of any player at the club, which was good. So that helped me and then this year … [it was] just making sure that the difference between my best games and my poorest games, the gap wasn’t as big as what it was the year before. So that was probably the biggest change.”

Pedersen said it was important to bounce back from an indifferent start at Melbourne – after he was traded from North Melbourne at the end of the 2012 season.

“It was very stressful, as I’ve got the young family,” he said.

“[I’m] playing football for them to set up their future lives and it was very stressful, especially when I got told that if I don’t pull my finger out, they’d be happy just to let me go and that would be the end of the dream. I just really wanted to hold onto it and grab it with both hands.”

Pedersen, who has played 45 AFL matches, said he wasn’t too sure why his form turned around.

“Probably just doing the little things well,” he said.

“Roosy’s really big on not fumbling, not missing tackles – the things that don’t really take a lot of skill – they’re more effort and concentration things. Really knuckling down on them and eliminating the things I had last year where I’d say the coach-killing moments where everyone goes ‘oh he’s done it again’, so I tried to limit them and just be consistent.”

But the 27-year-old said a settled role this season also helped his cause.

“Last year I played four games down back, then a couple forward, then chopped out in the ruck, but this year I was more just that forward/second ruck, so it’s been good – a bit more continuity in my games,” he said.

Pedersen said his wife had been his No.1 supporter, but added that the entire coaching staff, particularly Jade Rawlings and Daniel McPherson had been most encouraging.

“He’ll (Rawlings) always give you straight down the line feedback and Frosty’s (McPherson) been really good this year, doing the reviews of the games and always giving me little helpful comments to make me play better the next week,” he said.

Despite his vast-improvement in 2014, Pedersen was dropped late in the season, playing just one of the final four rounds, which he conceded was “very frustrating”. 

“It’s just the nature of the beast. You’ve got 42 mates on the list but you and your mate could be playing the same position. You’ve got to be mates but then you’ve got to be trying to take their position,” he said.

“The coaches said I wasn’t doing too much wrong but I just wasn’t having enough impact on games. Maybe I looked a bit tired because that was the most AFL games that I’d played in a year before.

“They said ‘you’ve had a good year and it’s not like you’re doing terrible things or anything’. When I got bumped out and [Max] Gawn came in, he deserved to come in because he was dominating VFL. And that’s just the way AFL is, if someone else is playing better than you, they take your spot.”

Still, Pedersen said he was proud of the way he bounced back in 2014, after playing just 10 in his first season with Melbourne in 2013.

“I take a little bit of pride out of it. It’s more just the earning the respect back from people and getting the trust of your teammates … that’s probably the biggest part,” he said.

“Not playing the last few games is still really frustrating to me, because I’ve never actually played the last game, round 23 of a season before. So hopefully next year I can start and finish in the team as well.”