KEY defender Tom McDonald says Melbourne has made some significant gains in Paul Roos’ second pre-season.

With the red and blue set to take on Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on Thursday, McDonald said the training undertaken this summer had far outweighed the 2013/14 pre-season when Roos took over as senior coach.

“It’s been a really important pre-season for us,” he told  

“There has been a bit more of an offensive focus for us and it’s been important for us to improve that because we won’t be competitive without it.

“For us, we still want to keep a pretty good defence, which we think is important, so it’s been a big pre-season for us.”

McDonald said the training session on Wednesday was “pretty low key”.

“Especially after a long flight, plus a couple of hours on buses and cars all up, so the coaches leave it up to the players in terms of having a jog or a stretch,” he said.

“We had a few ground balls, guys running in pairs and some kick to kicks.

“It’s more about getting ready to play and we did our main training on Tuesday, which was a pretty solid hit out.”

McDonald said he was itching to play after an arduous pre-season.

“It’s been a long pre-season – too long sometimes – and you get to the stage where you’re ready to play games,” he said.

“I’ve definitely been at that stage for a bit now and I’m really excited to get into it, even if it’s just NAB Challenge – it’s just exciting to play footy again.

“I’m feeling really good about my game and I think I’ve made some good gains in a few areas that have been important for me to get better. I’m always working on the defensive side of my game and I think I’m calmer with the ball.

“I hope to become a real offensive threat this year. I should be trying to run forwards off their feet, so that’s a big focus this pre-season. I haven’t had a shoulder reco, which has helped, so I’m feeling great about the season ahead.”