FOR Melbourne’s Toby Bedford, re-signing with the club at the end of the 2021 season was both an easy and exciting decision.

The 21-year-old, who put pen to paper in October, said it was a no-brainer to remain a Demon.

“I was really happy to re-sign,” Bedford told Melbourne Media.

“I’ve developed so much here already and I’m still developing so, I knew that the best thing for me and my footy would be to stay.”

Bedford spent majority of the 2021 season playing for the Casey Demons at VFL level, where he continued to impress on-field, finishing second in the club’s best and fairest and more recently receiving Melbourne’s award for ‘Best VFL Player’.

The silky small forward was one of the side’s top contributors in front of goals, kicking eight majors over his nine games, and was consistent in his attack of the ball.

“It was both great and hard at times [playing in the VFL],” Bedford said.

“We had pretty good success and we were developing well with a good crew, so I definitely enjoyed it, but at the same time, I obviously wanted to play AFL.”

Bedford made his senior debut back at the beginning of 2020 and has managed just the one senior game since.

This became the driving factor for the 21-year-old when starting his off-season preparations for next year.

Following the side’s drought-breaking premiership in Perth, Bedford travelled home to Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia for the first time in two years and it was there that the No.12 was able to refresh his mind and set his focus on 2022.

“It was unreal to go back home,” Bedford said.

“I took Jayden (Hunt) and Ed (Langdon) up and I was so happy, because I got to see all my brothers and sisters that I hadn’t seen in years.

“I feel like whenever I go back home it’s a refresher, you can switch off from football, go hunting and fishing.”

Photo via IG/@jaydenhunt

It wasn’t long though before the small forward was back to a football mindset.  

“I started the [football] program in my second week back home,” Bedford said.

“I was running in 40-degree heat, and that’s even trying to hold off for as long as I could, running at 6pm with the sun setting.

“It was hard, but it’s made me fit and I obviously wanted to come back in the best shape possible."

Returning to pre-season on December 6th, Bedford said he was not only feeling strong on the track but more importantly, was ready to take on the upcoming season with a positive attitude.

“The last couple of years, more so than ever, I’d put a lot of pressure on myself to make the team and that’s the same thing going into this year, I obviously want to make the team,” Bedford said.

“But I want to make sure that I go out, play good footy and have fun.

“I’m going to try and go about my football playing with confidence, that’s when I play my best football.

“For me, it’s about playing good footy with confidence and the rest takes care of itself.“