BILLY Stretch says he found no shortage of role models amongst the playing group in his first season at Melbourne.
Speaking to Dee TV, Stretch singled out recently retired Daniel Cross as one player who made a big impression on him this year.
“Crossy has been awesome. He’s played in a similar role to me throughout the year on the wing and through the midfield and down back as well. I’ve just tried to be a sponge this year; I wanted to take as much as I can from the experienced players in the team," he said.
“I got the chance to room with him over in Perth in one of the final games against Freo and even just watching how they (the experienced players) go about it with their preparation, it’s quite eye opening.
“It’s really good for me to just sit back and soak it up and just learn and see how they live their life.”
Stretch also credited some of the “younger guys coming through” like Jack Viney with providing support and guidance to the first year players.
“Sitting down with these blokes and rolling through the vision and working with the coaches one-on-one has been awesome for my development,” he said.
“[These guys] have been really good role models for us first year boys coming into the system.”
Naturally diligent, Stretch said that his own approach to preparation has also helped him to cope with the demands of playing elite football.
“It’s always been a part of me and ingrained in my lifestyle and my personality,” he said.
“I think I’ve developed that as well over the past few years [from] understanding the demands of AFL footy and the way you need to conduct yourself to be able to perform at the elite level consistently.
“I pride myself on my professionalism and my high standards and expectations and I’ll continue to grow on that.”