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Calf injury ‘a bit of a blow-up’: Jones

Matt Burgan  December 13, 2017 5:52 PM

Pre-season update: Nathan Jones We caught up with Nathan Jones ahead of the Christmas break to see how the team was travelling
It was quite minor. I probably just made a silly decision to get out and smash out a training session, the afternoon I’d just flown back from Bali

CO-CAPTAIN Nathan Jones says a recent calf injury was “a bit of a blow-up” and not a major setback in his pre-season.

The triple Melbourne best and fairest winner said there wasn’t much to his injury and he was back on track.

“It was quite minor. I probably just made a silly decision to get out and smash out a training session, the afternoon I’d just flown back from Bali [during the off-season],” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“I tightened up a little bit and it was probably more precautionary at this time of the year, and there was no point in me pushing through it and actually doing something quite significant.

“I just managed myself through that period. Now I’m back in full training and ready to go.”

The 239-game player said training had been “quite intense”, although he was relishing every minute.

“We’re in the full swing of things now. The intensity has definitely been raised and it’s actually been really enjoyable. The coaches have set up a terrific environment here and the players are really embracing that, although it’s been challenging,” he said.

“There is definitely a real fire burning inside the players to continue to get better and continue to strive for improvement, so I’m excited.

“It’s always really optimistic at this time of year, but I think we’re definitely on the right track.”

Boom recruit Jake Lever and former Docker Harley Balic have impressed Jones with their efforts at training.

“Of the new boys, it’s hard to go past Jakey Lever. He’s been so impressive out on the track and he proves it just in a handful of drills and training with him – and why we went so hard after him,” he said.

“Harley Balic has been really impressive. It’s almost like he’s got the weight of the world off his shoulders, being back here [in Melbourne] and fully fit.

“He’s been able to make an impact and he’s shown some really promising signs.”

Jones said the draftees were settling in, with mature-ager Oskar Baker making an immediate impression on the co-captain.

“He’s got some genuine speed about him and a little bit of spunk and I really like how he gets stuck into it,” he said.

“He's been impressive. It’s hard to single out guys – there are some guys who have come back in terrific condition to stake their claim.

“Overall, the squad’s in terrific shape. Most blokes are out on the track and each session is quite competitive, but that’s what you expect and that’s what we want. The whole group’s really taken to driving each other to another level, which is really exciting for me.”

Looking ahead to 2018, the outstanding midfielder said he was “really optimistic” about the season ahead.

“I think we’re in a terrific position. At the back end of last year, the expectation lifted around some of those younger players and there is definitely an opportunity for them to stand-up, which I’m seeing that already,” he said.

“Guys like Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes – these guys that I’m spending a fair bit of time with in the gym and out on the training track, in that little core midfield group, I’ve been really impressed with what they’ve produced so far.

“Alex Neal-Bullen is another one, in the forwards’ group, [who is impressing]. These guys are looking to take another step and I think adding someone like Jake to our leadership – and hopefully our leadership group – after the experiences we took last year [will only help].

“With our more experienced players, hopefully we can also take another step. Holistically, the club’s got to continue to strive for improvement and look for areas to continue to get better. That’s what excites me about next year and we’re only scratching the surface of what we’re capable of.”