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Media Conference: Nathan Jones

3:55pm  Aug 21, 2017

Rd 22: All The Goals

12:02pm  Aug 21, 2017

Rd 22: Jesse Hogan post-match

5:23pm  Aug 20, 2017

Cam keeps on rucking ‘n’ rolling

Matt Burgan  May 18, 2017 3:26 PM

It’s good to string three games together and I’m looking forward to getting to the bye and then reassessing when Gawny or Spence come back, hopefully after the bye. Hopefully I can stay in the team in a different role

CAM Pedersen says he’s optimistic he can remain a key part of the team and play alongside a specialist ruckman Max Gawn or Jake Spencer, when they return from injury in the coming weeks.

Pedersen, who has played in the ruck and up forward in the past three weeks, has been one of Melbourne’s best players since his return to the side in round six. Last Saturday night, he kicked a game-high three goals in Melbourne’s outstanding 41-point win over the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

The 30-year-old praised senior coach Simon Goodwin and player/coach performance manager Brendan McCartney for backing him in recent times.

“Goody and Macca have been really good. They’ve told me that I need to play good footy to stay in the side, and if I do that then I won’t be in and out of the side like I have in previous years,” he said.

“It’s good to string three games together and I’m looking forward to getting to the bye and then reassessing when Gawny or Spence come back, hopefully after the bye. Hopefully I can stay in the team in a different role.

“I think it’s been good that I’ve had a lot of time to go forward, because I’ve been rucking and then running forward.”

Pedersen said he was the playing the most consistent football of his career, although he highlighted his second season at the club, when he played 19 games during Paul Roos’ first year as coach, as his best season so far.

“Some people get frustrated when I come in and out, and they’d like to see me stay [in the side] a bit longer,” he said.

“The coaches think I play better when I’m on the edge, so I still don’t find out until Thursday afternoon if I’m playing or not.

“I don’t assume I’m playing every week, so living on the edge makes you look after yourself better – more recovery, eating better and when you get your chance, you appreciate it a bit more.”

Pedersen acknowledged he used to struggle with the pressure and “worrying about what everyone else was doing”, but now focuses on what he can control.

“When Mitch Clark was here, I’d worry when he was coming back, because did that mean I was going out of the side? When Dawesy (Chris Dawes) was here, was he going to play ahead of me, when he came back from his calf injury?” he said.

“[Sam] Weideman comes into the side, so does that mean I’m going to get dropped? Now, this year, I’ve tried to not worry about it and just focus on what I can control, which is my game and then everything will look after itself.”

Moreover, Pedersen said he was enjoying his football because of the brand implemented by Goodwin.   

“If you’re not competitive – you don’t get picked,” he said.

“In the past, some players got multiple opportunities, but now we’ve got a good list and it’s at a point where Alex Neal-Bullen could’ve quite easily played on the weekend or Harmesy (James Harmes) could’ve played.

“Ben Kennedy has been playing really well in the VFL and Tim Smith is not far away from coming back, so he’s another one who can play. So, there are several people vying for spots.”

On Sunday, Pedersen will come up against his former team, North Melbourne, for the third time.

Although he hasn’t been with the Kangaroos since the end of the 2012 season, Pedersen hadn’t forgotten about his old club, which gave him his first start in round one, 2011 against the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium.

He is still close mates with Sam Gibson, who he played with at Box Hill in the VFL and will come up against on the weekend, and Todd Goldstein, who he is set to ruck against this round. Former Roos Michael Firrito and Scott McMahon are others Pedersen keeps in touch with.

Although he spent just two seasons with the Roos, Pedersen is eternally grateful for the time he spent at Arden St. 

“I’ve got nothing but praise for North Melbourne – they’re a great club and gave me my first opportunity as a mature-age rookie, when no-one else did,” he said.

“I’m always thankful for that and the transition I made from there to here – they were more than happy to facilitate and didn’t make it too hard. We’re just excited for the challenge this week and ready for the fight.

“I’ll be rucking, I’d assume, against Goldy and he was at the club before I was there and he’s still going strong today,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pedersen said the news about Jesse Hogan, who was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer, “put everything into perspective”.

“When you hear about Jesse – footy is just a game. My wife’s cousin has just gone through the same thing at the same age, so it’s a terrible time for Jesse, given what he’s gone through with his father and now this,” he said.

“It’s lucky that he was so vigilant and got onto it straight away. We’ll give every support we can give. Jesse is the type of guy who likes his own space, so we won’t be forcing ourselves on him, but he’ll know that we’re here for him.

“It was mentioned a bit during that Adelaide game that we were playing for him, so hopefully that reflected in the way we played.”