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Lewis trains with backline

Ben Guthrie  November 29, 2017 1:45 PM

I've been training with the backline so far this pre-season

JORDAN Lewis will spend this summer training as a defender, as Melbourne looks to enhance its leadership credentials among an inexperienced backline group.

Lewis joined marquee recruit Jake Lever and fellow defenders Oscar McDonald, Sam Frost, Neville Jetta and Bernie Vince when the players split into their designated line groups at Gosch's Paddock on Wednesday.

During the two-hour session in the Melbourne heat, the defenders had a particular focus on their body work and positioning in the contest – with Lewis and Vince going toe-to-toe in contested marking drills.

Lever has been eased into training for the start of pre-season following his trade from Adelaide, but took a step up on Wednesday, and Lewis said he was relishing the chance to learn from the former Crow.

"I've been training with the backline so far this pre-season," Lewis said.

"[Jake and I are] going to be pretty tight over the duration of the pre-season.

"He's a very good player so I'm going to try to suck as much information out of him as I can."

Lewis said the Demons had identified the need for an experienced head in defence.

The Demons were forced to shift Tom McDonald forward to fill in for Jesse Hogan – who had health and injury issues throughout 2017 – robbing Melbourne of a player who could set up the backline and marshall the defenders.

"One of the gaps was a little bit of leadership down back," Lewis said.

"That's not to say that I'll play there next year but certainly throughout the pre-season, I think I'll train the majority of the time in the backline."

A four-time premiership player at Hawthorn, Lewis has already noticed a steely resolve amongst his teammates after the Demons fell agonizingly short of a finals berth in 2017.

Melbourne missed September action for the 11th consecutive season, falling short by just 0.5 per cent.

"I didn't need to be too vocal because you could see the hurt in the players and sometimes that's what it takes – a little bit of hurt in the off-season and then you come back even hungrier," Lewis said.

"That's the way the players have approached it. You have to have a few lean years to put the hard yards in and actually get the reward.

"They've come back with the right attitude."