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Melbourne Football Club

Melksham excited for new ride

The week’s gone pretty quick so far. I’ve got one more sleep and the nerves are fine and I’m pretty excited
Jake Melksham

JAKE Melksham says he’s feeling relaxed, excited and ready to go for Melbourne’s first home and away match of the season of the season against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

A day out before his first game for Melbourne and his 115th AFL game, after 114 with Essendon from 2010-15, Melksham said his nerves were holding up well.

“The week’s gone pretty quick so far. I’ve got one more sleep and the nerves are fine and I’m pretty excited,” he told Melbourne TV.

“It’s an afternoon game, which are a bit of a tricky time, but tomorrow morning I’ll go out for brekky with the family just to kill a bit of time. We’ll go for a walk up to the local café and walk the dog and have a bit of lunch in the afternoon and then head off to the game.

“I’ve got [wife] Stace and [daughter] Frankie coming – they’re both really excited, although Frankie’s not sure what’s going on just yet. I’ve got my brother and my Dad and some close friends coming along as well, which will be good.”

Melksham said Melbourne’s team of 22 for its season opener was “a strong team”.

“It’s really exciting that we’ve got two debutants in Mitch Hannan and Joel Smith,” he said.

“It’s a real credit to those boys, coming in the way they have and the way they’ve had their pre-seasons, especially Mitch, who has only been at the club for a few months.

“Also to Joel, who has come off a category B rookie list, which I think is amazing. It’s good, I get to play with Joel down in the backline and we’ll be able to settle him in down there and get him into the game, which will be exciting.”

Another player with a wealth of experience, four-time Hawthorn premiership player Jordan Lewis, will also play his first game for Melbourne after 264 games with Hawthorn from 2005-16.

Melksham said the brilliant ball-winner wouldn’t be nervous heading into his first game.

“Jordie is a pretty cool character,” he said.

“He’s been there before and I’m sure the occasion won’t faze him too much.

“I’m sure it’ll be a good moment that we’ll share together and that one we’ll look back on, if we have a good win.”

As for how he sees the eagerly-anticipated match shaping up, Melksham said it shapes as a beauty.

“I see two sides that are really good around the contest and will be both cracking in pretty hard,” he said.

“Season openers are always like that, whether you’re playing the best teams or the lower end teams – it’s always a really strong battle.

“Both sides have got a lot of expectation on them this year and St Kilda have got the better of us for the past 14 games, so that’ll play a little bit of a part in our preparation and we’ll look at that a little bit, but it’s just another game for us and I’m looking forward to it.”