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Melbourne Football Club

Day 6 diary: Rest and play

A few boys pumped out an upper body circuit in the morning – the outdoor gym set-up has been awesome, so it was great to get the body moving again after a big training day on Friday
Billy Stretch

Day 6: Saturday, February 3

8am: AFLW starts, rest day on camp

It’s a big day for the footy club, with the women’s team set to start its second AFLW campaign against GWS Giants at Casey Fields later this afternoon.

After missing last year’s Grand Final by percentage, Melbourne has been strongly tipped to go all the way by several footy experts in 2017.

Six players are set to play their first game for the Demons against the Giants, which looms as a fascinating – and exciting – encounter – in the second AFLW season.

For the men’s squad, it’s a day off, after a big week on track, particularly after Friday’s session in heavy conditions.

With the players, coaches and staff away from Monday to Monday, today is an opportunity for the group to spend some time together, away from the game, which is an important aspect part of the camp. It’s their one full day off in this period. Time has been scheduled into the itinerary for building relationships, which is an integral part of the club’s mantra.  

Even though it’s a ‘day off’, most of the players complete extra sessions.  

One is a morning gym workout, as Declan Keilty explains.

“Saturday was our day off, but [head of athletic development] Jimmy McGeoch had an optional weights session at the outdoor gym at 8.30am, which was good,” he says.

“With the gym being surrounded by a paintball field, Tom McDonald then organised about 25 people to play. We had five teams of five, which was very fun, especially when the rain started pouring down.”

Max Gawn finishes the session by taking the group through a solid core circuit, while Jack Viney and McGeoch gain some gymnastics tips from one of the owners of the gym. They are shown handstand, ‘muscle-up’ and general core strength techniques.

‘The Base’, which is where the players are doing their weights session at Twin Waters, is also set-up as a boot camp or ‘commando-style’ course.

It almost looks like a set from ‘I’m a celebrity … get me out of here’ or perhaps a ‘Rambo’ movie. Well, sort of …

Christian Salem completes a weights session with Clayton Oliver, before joining the paintball crew.

“It was a great laugh and we all got into it,” he says.

Christian Petracca and Sam Frost add that “it was heaps of fun”. 

James Harmes says “it was a pretty funny day.”  

12pm: Lunch and movies

For Dom Tyson and Jay Kennedy Harris, they take the opportunity to enjoy some downtime.

“The rain definitely set the tone for the day, so Dom and I decided we’d relax for the day,” Kennedy Harris says.

“Both being basketball fans, we spent some time watching that, then headed into the main part of town for the cinemas in the afternoon.”

Tom Bugg also decides on a “low-key option”.

“We saw ‘Molly’s Game’, which I rated four out of five stars, so if you like money go see it,” he says.

Frost agrees with Bugg and recommends the new flick.

“We went to Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore and saw it, which I really enjoyed,” he says.

Petracca says the cinema is the one of the better options on a rainy afternoon.

“The rain got heavier and started bucketing down, so that limited us to inside activities and a few of us went and saw ‘Den of Thieves’, as the rest saw ‘Molly's Game’,” he says.

6pm (5pm Melbourne): AFLW under way

Several of the group get behind the team.

Jack Viney tweets: “Can’t wait to watch the girls kick off their season tonight out at Casey. Who is going to cheer them on?”

Back in Victoria – at Cranbourne East – the women’s game is under way at 5.05pm.

It’s an entertaining clash and tight encounter.

The Giants lead at each break, although there are a handful of changes throughout the match.

It’s not until late in the game, when Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston notches up her third goal, that Melbourne regains the lead and wins its season-opener by six points.

Daisy Pearce stars in the second half – with 13 touches – to finish with 19 disposals for the game.

Shelley Scott also chips in with two goals, while Tegan Cunningham and Kate Hore boot one major each. Elise O’Dea and Meg Downie are others to shine.

The only blemish in the win is a back injury to Karen Paxman, who stars early, with eight disposals in 14 minutes, before being forced from the ground. But its hoped she’ll be right for round two.

In warm conditions, it’s a fantastic game played right down to the wire. And it’s a top start by the women’s team.

Cam Pedersen tweets post-match: “Well done girls. Great start.”

7pm: Dinner

Back on the Sunshine Coast, Billy Stretch says it’s been an enjoyable day with teammates.

“A few boys pumped out an upper body circuit in the morning – the outdoor gym set-up has been awesome, so it was great to get the body moving again after a big training day on Friday,” he says.

“A lot of the boys got out and about, and did some activities during the day. We played paintball, which was great fun and went to the movies to see ‘Molly’s Game’.

“We also went out for dinner, so it was nice to have a bit of fun during the day and kick back with some of the boys.”

Neville Jetta concurs with Stretch and says it was a fun day of bonding with teammates.

“[I] started with an optional upper body circuit. Rain came down heavily during paintball and it only added to the fun. There was no clear winner, but it was a lot of fun,” he says.

“Once we cleaned ourselves up, we headed into Mooloolaba for lunch and ate at a local café and then we followed that up by going to the movies.

“Me and a bunch of boys headed back to one of the closer restaurants called ‘High Tide’ for a feed. I called it a night while some of the younger fellas stayed up to play some ‘Fifa’, ‘Ashes17’ or ‘2K18’.”

For a ‘day off’, it was a pretty good one, with the right mix of extra sessions, some fun activities and time spent with teammates.