MELBOURNE captain Nathan Jones says seeing Jack Trengove return to AFL football would be “a real inspiration”.
Trengove is set to have his first taste of competitive football when he takes to the field in a Casey Scorpions intra-club match this Friday.
The former club captain last played at AFL level in round 2, 2014 and Jones said it was exciting to see him return to the football field.
“We’re super excited for him… particularly the guys who have known him for a while and seen him go through it,” Jones said on Wednesday.
“He’s [been the] ultimate professional with his recovery and he’s just one of the club’s great blokes.
“[It’s great] to see him come back from where he’s come from – he hasn’t played footy in [almost] two years and at one stage it looked like it could have been all over.”
Trengove suffered a setback late in 2014 when he had to undergo a second operation on his foot, effectively ending his 2015 season before it had even started.
Jones said the midfielder’s attitude towards his rehabilitation was a testament to his professionalism and mental strength.
“He’s just continued to tick every single box and the main thing has just been how he’s been able to deal with that mentally,” Jones said.
“His personality hasn’t shifted, he hasn’t dropped his head – he’s just stayed positive the whole time – and to see him get his chance and run out there this week… I think it’s going to provide some real inspiration to the group.
“Hopefully it’s not too far away that he can find some form and we can see him back at AFL level.”
Meanwhile, Jones said the young talent around the club had a “rejuvenating” effect on Melbourne’s more senior players.
“For someone like me and maybe the more senior players that have been around for a while, you can really notice a shift [in the club mentality],” he said.
“The younger players are excited to maybe get a game and make an impact and they’re still raw and just want to get out there and give it their best which is what we love.
“That rejuvenates someone like me that’s been around for 10 or 11 seasons.”
Angus Brayshaw and Jesse Hogan were among Melbourne’s young players to impress last year, playing 21 and 20 games respectively.
Jones said first year player Clayton Oliver was “right in the mix” for selection this week after an impression pre-season.
“He’s trained terrifically over the pre-season, he’s put the right foot forward through the games of the NAB Challenge and he’s put his hand up for selection this week,” Jones said.
“I’ve been excited by him playing his role over the NAB Challenge series – I love his hardness at the footy and he’s got some real tricks with the ball.
“If he continues to play the way he has with that tenacity around the contest and his ability to crack in, he’s got all the attributes to have a terrific season.”
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