DEFENDER Michael Hibberd says he’s moved on from the much-publicised Essendon supplements saga and is now totally focused on playing for Melbourne.
Speaking on Melbourne TV series AHG Road to Round 1, the key recruit said a new beginning at the red and blue – after missing the 2016 season through suspension – had helped him let go of what had happened in the past.
“It was disappointing to miss a year of footy after everything that had happened,” Hibberd said.
“I definitely think the best thing for me was to get that fresh start. I wanted to rejuvenate my career somewhere else.
“I felt like I was getting a bit worn down with all of the stuff that was going on in the background and I really just wanted to focus on my footy.
“I felt like to get the best out of myself was to leave [Essendon] and there was no better club than Melbourne.
Hibberd acknowledged that he went through a range of emotions during his time on the sidelines.
“We, as players, didn’t think we did a hell of a lot wrong at the time and the hardest thing about it was missing footy and not having that camaraderie with your teammates that you get at a football club every day,” he said.
“You go through different stages. You’re upset [and you wonder] what are you going to do for the year? People have let you down and then there is the anger [but] I’m not going to sit here and smash anyone for what’s happened.
“I’m an adult and I’m going to try and move on the best I can with what I’ve got in front of me now. I’m just going to let all of that stuff go behind me.”
Hibberd, who joined Melbourne from Essendon last October, said having some familiar faces when he first got to the club made his transition smooth.
“Having Simon [Goodwin] as the head coach – I had a good relationship [with him] at Essendon and I was friends with him while he was at Melbourne,” he said.
“Having him as the head coach was a big pull for me – and Macca (Brendan McCartney), he’s been great.
“[The first few days at Melbourne], I got to train with the younger guys and Jake [Melksham] was in there as well, so that was a good introduction, before the main group actually came back.”
Hibberd, who made his AFL debut in 2011 and has played 84 matches, said he “loved the pressure of playing footy and competing”.
“It’s always what I’ve wanted to do from when I was a little kid, so I’m not going to complain too much,” he said.