MITCH Hanann proved to be the feel-good story of Melbourne’s training session on Tuesday afternoon, as the forgotten man announced he is ready to play his first game of football for the year.
The 25-year-old, who has been battling a knee injury in 2019, will take to the field for the Casey Demons in the VFL this weekend.
“It’s getting very close now, just under a week,” Hannan told Melbourne Media.
“It’s been a very long road so I’m looking forward to getting out there this Sunday.”
Hannan has been increasing his workload recently, and despite not training with the main group in the Dees’ first session since returning from Perth, there are no doubts over his fitness.
“I’ve been [training with the main group] for a few weeks now, so I’ll have the main session this Thursday, and all going well – which it should – I’ll get through that and I’ll prepare to play VFL on Sunday,” he said.
It has been a tough start to the year for Hannan, spending the pre-season in the rehab group, but he is finally over that hurdle.
“I’ve had a few ups and downs over the summer, but I’m feeling quite confident now that I’ll be able to have an impact on games and be able to run through and manage it for the rest of the season,” he said.
After making a name for himself with a clutch final quarter goal in last year’s Elimination Final, Hannan is desperate to get back into the Melbourne line up.
But with the Demons hitting form in the past three weeks, he knows slotting straight back into the side won’t be easy.
“I’d like to get back as soon as possible into the senior side but unfortunately I don’t make those calls,” Hannan said.
“I’ll probably have to find a little bit of match fitness first in the VFL and make sure I’ve had a little bit of form there as well and get a kick and we’ll go from there.
“I can’t really put a time frame on it, we’ll see how we go.”
In other injury news, Jake Lever and Jay Kennedy Harris completed the full session with the main group and will run out for Casey alongside Hannan this weekend.
Alex Neal-Bullen, Christian Salem and Tim Smith were all out on the track after their concussion incidents against West Coast on Friday night, but will be taking it slowly in the early stages of the week.
The Demons’ goal kicking was a major issue in Round 9, with their inaccuracy ultimately costing them victory. With a clear area for improvement, the boys spent plenty of time lining up the big sticks at Gosch’s Paddock on Tuesday.