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Melbourne Football Club

Melbourne back on the track

Pre-season: Christian Petracca Christian Petracca speaks to Matt Burgan as the first to fourth year players hit the track for pre-season
There is a bit of mixed feelings, and it’s a bit emotional and a bit nervous, but it was good to see the boys again
Christian Petracca

MELBOURNE has started pre-season training, with the club’s first to four-year players undertaking a session at Gosch’s Paddock on Monday.

Roughly half of the list, including players outside of the first to four-year range, such as Jack Viney, Cam Pedersen and Tom Bugg trained for about two hours out on the track.

Young-gun Christian Petracca said the first day of pre-season training always came with a range of emotions.  

“It’s good to see the boys again. Day one is always exciting,” he told  

“There is a bit of mixed feelings, and it’s a bit emotional and a bit nervous, but it was good to see the boys again.

“It’s good to blow the cobwebs out.”

The group completed a two-km time-trial, skills and conditioning work out on Gosch’s Paddock, before undertaking weights in the afternoon.

“There was nothing too serious – it was just getting back into the swing of things and getting back into the routine,” Petracca said.  

“Our main training will probably start when the older boys get back, which is the 20th of November.”

Youngsters Billy Stretch and Alex Neal-Bullen impressed in their running, and ruckman Mitch King caught Petracca’s eye.

“They’re (Stretch and Neal-Bullen) always kill the running, but Mitch King has put on a bit of size ... about five or six kilos, so he’s looking a bit fitter and a bit stronger,” he said.  

“He (King) ran a pretty good time in the two-km run, so he’s going well.”

Petracca, who travelled to the USA during his break, spoke about his brush with sporting royalty. 

“I met LeBron [James, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA], which was a pretty cool feeling,” he said.

“I caught up with [good friend and Philadelphia 76ers star] Ben Simmons over the break, with Harmesy (James Harmes) and Dom Tyson. We went and watched a game – Philadelphia verses the Rockets – and we went out with him after the game.

“The whole Cleveland team was there in the booth, so it was good to catch up with them, so hopefully it’s a regular thing.”

As for what Petracca said to his basketball hero?

“It was 4am, so I can’t really say much about that,” he said with a laugh.

“I just shook his hand and gave him a little bit of a hug and that was about it.”