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All out attack is right for Melksham

Ben Collins  February 14, 2018 9:54 AM

Jake Melksham thinks he has finally found his right position

Jake Melksham thinks he has finally found his right position

SETTLING into a role in the forward line at the back end of last season saw Jake Melksham produce the best football of his career, and he's hoping to replicate that consistency across a full year in 2018.

After starting 2017 in defence and then being thrown into a couple of run-with roles in the midfield – most notably on Collingwood's Scott Pendlebury in round 12 – Melksham found the consistency he had been searching for across his career when he was shifted to the forward line.

Melskham was initially deployed as a negating forward, starting with a role on Western Bulldogs speedster Jason Johannisen in round 13, but the Demons eventually gave him more freedom to explore his attacking instincts and he flourished.

The 26-year-old booted 21 goals in his last 12 matches, adding a new dimension to a forward line that was lacking key target Jesse Hogan.

"I've played in all positions, mainly due to (not) finding one myself which I really did well in," Melksham said on Wednesday.

"But I think last year, in the back half of the year, when I played down forward, I found myself a spot that was right for me."

Melksham said another pre-season in Melbourne's system has him raring to go after being suspended for the 2016 season as a result of his involvement in Essendon's 2012 supplements saga.

"This time last year my body was adapting a little bit and early in the season you're adapting to the games," Melksham said. 

"I feel really strong and really fit at the minute and if I look back compared to last year I'm feeling much better and ready to go."

The former Bomber will be one of the most experienced Demons players in a squad brimming with draftees and youngsters when the club kicks off its AFLX campaign at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

Draftees Charlie Spargo, Bayley Fritsch and Oskar Baker will all feature, while midfielder Angus Brayshaw will also play after overcoming the concussion issues that plagued him last season. 

Melksham said the new format had taken some getting used to.

"We've found the trials a little bit tricky, just getting your head around things," Melksham said. 

"We've had three (trials) now though so it's been good to get some practice in." 

Meanwhile, Demons co-captain Jack Viney continued his rehab from a serious foot injury at training on Wednesday as he races the clock to be ready for Melbourne's season-opener with Geelong. 

Viney did some light competitive work with teammate Dean Kent and finished his session with some running, however he is yet to join in full training. 

"He's not far off (main) training, Jack, a couple of weeks he said yesterday, so it'll be good to get him out there," Melksham said.