AARON vandenBerg says the players are itching to take on genuine opposition, after getting through Friday’s intra-club match at Casey Fields.
vandenBerg said the team couldn’t wait to play its first NAB Challenge match against Port Adelaide at Elizabeth on Saturday, February 27.
“Definitely – the last two weeks have been pretty evident of that,” he told Dee TV.
“The boys are getting a little bit tired of pre-season, especially when games are coming so close.
“They’re itching to play.”
vandenBerg said the intra-club clash was played at “95 per cent because you don’t want to hurt anyone, because they’re your mates”.
“It was very good to get out there. It was the first taste of football for the pre-season and you certainly felt the first few minutes. It’s good to get back to it on footy terms,” he said.
“It’s pretty hard. You’re playing against blokes like Jack Viney, who always go at it 100 per cent, but you don’t want to hurt your teammates, when you tackle or go into someone’s back.
“You do all these game style drills and implement what you want to do. To actually put it into action is nice.
“It was good to get the Casey boys down, because you can clearly see the connection between those guys and Melbourne, which is good.”
The second-year utility said his pre-season had been positive and he was determined to build on a most encouraging 2015.
“It’s been very good – it’s my first full pre-season at Melbourne, which is nice and the body feels a lot better than it did last year,” he saud.
“It’s just good to get out amongst the boys and do the drills. I’m just going in with a good focus of playing my role for the team and doing what I have to do … and trying to play the best that I can really.
“I’ve played a bit of forward and mid, so with 90 rotations and my fitness base, I’ll have to stay on the ground a fair bit, so I’ll be pushing between both I’d imagine.”