ADAM Tomlinson is as determined as ever to pull on the red and blue guernsey again in 2022.
The Demon defender, who suffered a devastating blow earlier this year when he went down with an ACL injury in Round 7, is hungry to own this pre-season and give himself the best chance possible of getting back out on the park.
And just seven months post-injury, it’s Melbourne’s drought-breaking premiership win that’s spurring him on.
“I’ve got the fire in my belly big time,” Tomlinson told Melbourne Media.
“It was amazing for us, but it was hard at times just sitting there and watching everyone be involved and celebrate, but at the same time, I had my fair share of celebrations.”
With a well-documented September for the Demons, Tomlinson first earned his opportunity to re-join the full squad during their finals preparations in Western Australia, after making strong progress in his rehab.
But it wasn’t until he returned from the off-season break that he got to start reaping the full rewards of his efforts to date.
“It’s great to back at training and being part of the group,” Tomlinson said.
“I got a little bit of a taste of it in Perth – I did a couple of drills with the main group – but to be fully immersed back into the group, it’s a super feeling.
“My knee’s great. It doesn’t worry me, I don’t even think of it on the field, so from that aspect, it’s going really well.
“And I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. It’s been really good to change training up and do different forms of exercise.
“I started riding my bike a lot, along with obviously running and everything else we do. It’s been a huge change up in preparation, but I’ve absolutely loved it.”
Tomlinson was alongside several other Demons in watching on from the sidelines throughout a historic September – something that was equally challenging as it was exciting.
But the former GIANT is confident that the experience is going to only motivate the group more in 2022.
“I sit in the locker room next to Melky (Jake Melksham) and we talk about it a lot, about how much we wanted to come back and train as much as we could, and show everyone that we’re ready to go,” Tomlinson said.
“We want to play; we want to show everyone that we’re still able to play football and we can’t wait.”