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Melbourne Football Club

JKH thankful to play, rather than train

Jay Kennedy-Harris kicks for goal during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on June 17, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope/AFL Media)
Jay Kennedy-Harris kicks for goal during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on June 17, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope/AFL Media)
I probably wasn’t ready fitness wise for a full game, but I’m glad the coaches let me play at Development League level, rather than have a training session, so it was a huge weight off my shoulders
Jay Kennedy-Harris

JAY Kennedy-Harris says he gained much more by returning from injury via the AFL Victoria Development League rather than having another training injury to build his fitness base for the second half of the season.  

Kennedy-Harris, who played the opening six matches of the season with Melbourne, before being sidelined from rounds seven to 10 with a groin injury, returned via Casey’s ‘seconds’ last Saturday against Coburg.

He notched up 24 disposals in a little more than 50 per cent game time and said the run in the midfield was beneficial to his build-up, as he aims to return to the Melbourne side after the bye.

“It was heaps of fun. Before the game, I got out nice and early onto the ground to check it out. It was nice to be able to play and not just train and that helped me get into the game – I wasn’t too worried,” Kennedy-Harris told melbournefc.com.au.

“I probably wasn’t ready fitness wise for a full game, but I’m glad the coaches let me play at Development League level, rather than have a training session, so it was a huge weight off my shoulders.”

“The game plan and expectation is the same at all levels at the moment from Development League to the AFL and that’s the system we’ve got at the moment.”

The second-year Demon said coach Paul Roos had been pivotal in allowing him to play.

“I was getting to the stage where I was close to playing and I’d done a lot of fitness work and I’d done a lot of rehab,” he said.

“I was starting to move well and the physios were pretty happy.

“They saw the opportunity to play me in the Development League, rather than just have a training session … so it was a big thanks to Roosy for letting me play a game, rather than just have a training session.”

Roos said it made sense to play Kennedy-Harris with restricted game time, rather than give him another training session.

“Part of the reason we played him in the Development [League] … was that there would’ve been one coach kicking to one player, so it’s pretty hard to train,” he told Dee TV.

“We really saw it more as option than to give him a training run. This week, he’ll get a chance to play again and then after the bye, you’d consider him and in an ideal world, you’d love him to be playing the bye weekend.

“The players that have played get the weekend off, but he doesn’t need the weekend off, but that can’t happen [because of the VFL having a bye also].”

Kennedy-Harris said he was looking forward to playing in the VFL against North Ballarat this Saturday.

“Hopefully, [Casey coach] Plappy (Justin Plapp) gets me in the team and I’ll work into it. I ticked off the way I recovered from the game. I pulled up well and the physio staff was quite happy with where I’m at,” he said.

“Hopefully I can start putting my hand up after the bye and start asking for a call-up to the seniors, but I’ve got to play my role first at VFL level.

“I see myself as part of the forward line … but there are some things that I’ve got to show that I’m ready to play, [so I can] get out there and help as a small forward.”