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Consistency the key for Stretch

Caitlin Nobes  February 9, 2018 11:37 AM

I just want to stay out on the park, stay fit and strong, and just keep improving every day – that’s been my main aim

BILLY Stretch says he can see himself playing a consistent role in the team in 2018.

The midfielder, who played only nine senior games last season, said he has seen some reassuring improvements over the summer.

“I feel like I’m training with confidence, and have a real intensity, energy and purpose to training, which has been some of my key focuses,” Stretch told melbournefc.com.au.

“I just want to stay out on the park, stay fit and strong, and just keep improving every day – that’s been my main aim.”

With 36 senior games to his name, Stretch faced greater challenges to maintain his spot in the 2017 side, amidst a strong Melbourne midfield.

But the son of former Melbourne wingman/half-back Steven is more determined than ever.

Making the most of the trip away, Stretch was a standout during Melbourne’s recent pre-season camp in Maroochydore.

His athleticism and eagerness in the contest throughout the first main training session saw the leadership group name him ‘best on track’, while he also impressed in the gym.

Despite making waves over the summer, the 21-year-old’s focus remains on developing his consistency.

“I haven’t really put any expectations on anything really,” Stretch said.

“I’ve just got to keep pushing my case and training at a high intensity, and hopefully things will flow from there.”

Intensity was at the core of the team’s stay in Queensland, training in match-like conditions throughout the week.

Stretch said the group had really made the most of the opportunity, both in and away from training.

“It was great to go up there, to get out of Melbourne with the whole team, coaches and staff,” he said.

“It was mentally refreshing, having different conversations with different people, being able to interact with the coaches every day, and seeing the guys away from training.

“Aside from the physical stuff, I think that was the main benefit really.”

Bringing the team together was a theme that ran strongly throughout the camp, with the players living in small groups of four.

Rooming with teammates Neville Jetta, James Harmes and Sam Weideman, Stretch said it was a chance to get to know each other even further.

“I was already pretty close with those guys, but building on those relationships and finding out what makes everyone tick was really beneficial,” he said.

The running wingman shed light on the concept of team bonding, and its importance for season 2018.

“We wanted to get a bit more out of the camp in terms of building relationships and working on that togetherness,” Stretch said.

“The more we get to know each other, hopefully that’ll translate to better on-field performance as well.”