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Melbourne Football Club

Salem ready to make his mark

Christian Salem of the Demons in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on November 05, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Christian Salem of the Demons in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on November 05, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

SECOND-year Demon Christian Salem says making it through his first AFL pre-season has made a “ridiculous” difference to his fitness heading into the 2015 season.

A thyroid issue caused Salem to miss a large chunk of the 2014 pre-season, including all of the NAB Challenge before he broke into the side and managed 12 AFL games for the year.

“It’s been awesome, the change is just ridiculous,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“This time last year I was in rehab and now I’ve pretty much completed every main session, so I’m loving it.

“Hopefully I can finish off the last month and get cracking into games.”

Drafted at pick nine in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, Salem was drafted as a silky-skilled midfielder, but spent time both up forward and as the substitute in his first season.

Heading into 2015, the 19-year-old said locking down a spot in Melbourne’s best 22 – regardless of position – was his primary focus for the year.

 “For me, getting through pre-season was the biggest thing and I think if I get through this month, [I want to] just try and really crack into the team and try and cement a spot,” Salem said.

“I’ve been trying out a few different positions, so we’ll see where it takes us.

“To be honest I don’t mind [what position I play] at all ... for me, the team comes first so wherever that leads me, I’m happy to play.”

With several punishing sessions at Melbourne’s pre-season camp at Maroochydore, Salem, who “trained pretty much right through”, said he expected the time away to reap benefits on and off the field.

“There’s a few things, [you get out of a camp],” he said.

“There’s obviously the relationships that you build – you’re going to be with these guys on the field, so you want to get a good sense of trust around them.

“And I think just the workrate [required], we’ve never really backed up as many sessions as we did [on camp] and mentally knowing we could do that will hold us in good stead.”