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Youngsters bond in three-day camp

Matt Burgan  December 7, 2017 2:41 PM

Matthew Egan: David Neitz Academy Matthew Egan talks to Melbourne Media about the David Neitz Academy which took place in Torquay
The aim of the camp was as soon as we had the first-year players in, [we wanted] to get them together and bonding, and starting to build the relationships, so we could fast-track their development

MELBOURNE’S three-day camp to Torquay has been hailed a success by club.

The Demons took 11 of their youngsters – all part of the David Neitz Academy (DNA) – to the seaside town from Tuesday to Thursday, which combined relationship building and training.

Head of development Matthew Egan said it was a great opportunity for several of the club’s coaches, and fitness and conditioning staff, to spend greater time with Melbourne’s emerging players.

“It’s been good fun. We’ve trained out at Torquay footy club and did a gym workout,” he told melbournefc.com.au.  

“On Tuesday, the boys got down and did a really good session about getting to know each other and then spent time together and we went out for dinner.”

Harley Balic, Oskar Baker, Lochie Filipovic, Bayley Fritsch, Dion Johnstone, Declan Keilty, Mitch King, Harry Petty, Joel Smith, Charlie Spargo and Sam Weideman all took part in the camp.

Football department members Matthew Egan, Daniel Cross, Jade Rawlings, Shannon Byrnes and Steve Allan were all part of the trip, while coach Simon Goodwin and co-captain Nathan Jones also joined for dinner on Wednesday.

Egan said the camp provided benefits for all concerned.

“I see it as really important. Max Rooke and Daniel Cross started the David Neitz Academy last year for the first, second and a couple of third-year players and the reason we did it was to fast-track these young players to be as professional as quickly as we possibly can,” he said.

“Something [we took away] from last year was that it took a while to build the relationships with the players.

“The aim of the camp was as soon as we had the first-year players in, [we wanted] to get them together and bonding, and starting to build the relationships, so we could fast-track their development.”

Egan said the camp was also important for second and third-year players such as Johnstone, Smith and Weideman.

“It’s a big part of their growth as well – to develop their leadership,” he said.

“Leadership sometimes is by speaking up and the other one is leading by example.

“Over the few days, we’ve seen them all develop in their own ways.”

Rehabilitation coach Daniel Cross reiterated Egan’s thoughts.  

“The most important thing we wanted to get out of the camp was for our younger players to continue building strong relationships within our group in a different environment to what they are used to,” he said.

“Being at a footy club can be very hustle and bustle, and there is not a lot of down time to spend with your teammates, because you are always moving from one thing to the next.

“In Torquay, the boys could feel comfortable and enjoy each other's company, while also getting some quality training into them.”