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Melbourne Football Club

Day 8 diary: Camp comes to a close

We got some really good training sessions in, but probably the thing that I enjoyed the most about the camp is just spending more times with your teammates and finding a bit more about them, and you continue to build your relationships
Jack Viney

Day 8: Monday, February 5

5.30am: The last day of camp

It’s an early start with the players set to check-out of Sebel Twin Waters by 6am.

Then it’s onto the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex for the red and blue’s last training session of the camp.

Preparation at the ground and a pre-training meeting follows, before the players hit the track around 7.30am.

The session lasts for three hours, before the players have an early lunch at the ground, before departing for the Sunshine Coast Airport.

1pm: Departing the Sunshine Coast

The club’s fourth consecutive camp on the Sunshine Coast has come to an end and the consensus among the players is that the mateship and togetherness is the biggest ‘takeaway’ from the camp.

Here is a selection of what the players thought …

Tom Bugg: Today was our last day and we had our third main training. It was an early start and Maxy [Gawn] called the shots at 5:50am at ‘The Island’ café for coffees, followed by some upbeat music to get us up-and-about for training. It was a great training session, which included some AFLX games, led by Christian [Petracca], who was named best on track. We then went to the airport to drop the buses off and then funnily enough back to a sunny Melbourne. The camp has been a challenging but rewarding experience. The trip was designed to include some heat training to test us one last time before the season kicks off, yet it has been raining most of the time. However, we adapted to the conditions. As a whole, the camp has been such a great opportunity for our group to become closer on a more interpersonal level.

Bayley Fritsch: There’s definitely been a lot of team bonding and a lot of down time to hang out with the other players to get to know them more on a personal base. I’ve definitely got a lot out of it after seven days and have developed some close relationships, so it’s been good.

James Harmes: We were up at 5:30 and started training at 7:30am today. It was the close on what has a been a great week up here on the Sunshine Coast.

Jay Kennedy Harris: It was a very early start, which meant some very strong coffees got the morning started. The boys finished off the camp with a great session, on defence and offence. Some real standouts included Christian Petracca and Mitch Hannan. Overall, it was a challenging, but successful week on the track.

Mitch King: It was a quick breaky and off to the ground for a big session. Coaches were rapt with the way we trained, in particular Christian Petracca, who was awarded best on training track. Then it was off to the airport for a 1pm flight, with the Super Bowl streamed on every second phone in the terminal. But we took off with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter and the game still undecided – so it was an anxious flight for some of the big American sports fans.

Tom McDonald: It’s been a great camp. There have been some solid sessions and it’s been great to room with Tim Smith, Christian Petracca and Dean Kent throughout. I’ve done pretty well with my housemates. Tim’s a good calming influence and Petracca won’t shut up and Kegga’s (Kent) good fun, so we’ve had a good group of housemates.

Billy Stretch: Monday was our final main session and the boys trained with plenty of speed and intensity and we even got a little taste of AFLX, which was exciting. It was a high-quality session and a great way to wrap up the camp. We came up here looking to training at a really high standard and I think we certainly achieved that. The camp also presented many opportunities to better our relationships and togetherness, among not only the playing group, but also coaches and support staff. It was a very enjoyable camp.

Charlie Spargo: We had a good final session on Monday – it was a nice sharp session to finish off a strong week.

Dom Tyson: It’s been really good. We grouped together and housed together. You just spend a lot of time with coaches, support staff, physios and media team members, so it’s just a good way to build a whole club feel. It’s a good environment and probably good timing – just before JLT [Community Series]. It’s good to break it up and build stronger relationships. Our footy is still paramount and a priority, so we got some good footy sessions in as well.

Jack Viney: We got some really good training sessions in, but probably the thing that I enjoyed the most about the camp is just spending more times with your teammates and finding a bit more about them, and you continue to build your relationships.

4.30pm: Arriving in Melbourne

With the squad back in Melbourne, it’s now just under two weeks before its 2018 campaign opens via the new AFLX concept on Friday, February 16 at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne will play Carlton and North Melbourne and potentially in a Grand Final, if it gets through on the night.

The JLT Community Series will then follow in late February/early March, and then on Sunday, March 25, Melbourne will open its home and away season against Geelong Cats at the MCG.

Although it’s still more than a month and a half away, it’s clearly Melbourne’s focus.

Still, to get there, the Demons need to fulfil its final pre-season commitments, with one more big session scheduled later in the week, as Melksham says.

“We’re not too far going into game mode now, which is really pleasing,” he says.

“We’ve done all of the work and it’s really pleasing that we can start preparing for games, and a little bit less on our conditioning, because we’re super fit and we’re ready to go.” 

A big shout out to all of the players, coaches and staff, who have done a fantastic job on the camp. And of course to Matty Goodrope, Stefan Cardamone, Matt Richards and Caitlin Nobes from the club’s media team, who have done a power of great work in their time on the camp.

Go Dees!