Day 6: Saturday, January 17


 It’s another hot one. The boys are in for a tough session.

Brett ‘Fruity’ Allison gives a few words of advice and encouragement on the mini bus to the first year players – in between the 10 radio songs that are on rotation on one of the local stations.

He tells them that they’ll really enjoy the session because there is a lot of ball work, but it’s going to be “bloody hard” in the heat. He implores the draftees – Alex Neal-Bullen, Billy Stretch, Angus Brayshaw, Aaron vandenBerg, Christian Petracca and Oscar McDonald – to work hard for each other and help one another on the track today.


Jack Trengove hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s been working diligently and tirelessly in his rehab. But when I arrive at training – and chat to sports science coordinator and rehabilitation coach Alex Sakadjian – I learn that Trengove’s morning has started as if he was punished.

Sakadjian tells me that he and strength and conditioning manager Rob Jackson woke Trengove up for a 3.30am training session. It wasn’t because Trengove had been late or done anything wrong. It was simply to get the players out of their comfort zone – and Trengove was not being left out, even though he’s overcoming a serious navicular bone injury.

Not only do the fitness gurus love getting up at this time, I find out that Trengove “loved” the challenge of getting get up in his quest to return to the highest level. It’s an admirable quality.

Sakadjian told me that he had flagged with Trengove to expect a call “during the night”.

After they had called Trengove, they picked him up from his apartment and took him straight to the gym.

At 4am, Trengove did a spin bike session and then an hour of weights. Then his session finished off with another 20 minutes on the bike.

Once finished, Trengove completes a recovery session, before having an early breakfast.

Incredibly, when the main training is on, Trengove keeps at it, boxing for about 30 minutes.

Trengove then heads to the gym and does a swim. In all, he does four sessions for the day: bike, weights, boxing and swimming. Remember this is a guy who is still in a moon boot, due to a foot injury. I’m tired just thinking about it!

For the players and coaches, it’s somewhat water off a duck’s back, but for your average Joe, it’s remarkable to comprehend.

Still, the commitment from Jackson and Sakadjian can’t be questioned either. They’re determined to do everything they can to help the players reach their goals.

Sakadjian says Trengove could be woken again during the night before the camp’s end. Wow!

The theory behind the early session for Trengove is that the rest of the group is working hard on the track and they want to keep the same approach for the players in rehab.

Sakadjian said Trengove “loves any challenge”. But he said the trio all gained something from it. When I see Trengove at the main session, he gives a smile and says it was a good session. He’s a quality young man and I really hope he bounces back after such a terrible tough run with injury in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, Roos gathers the troops together.

He tells the players that they’ve had several good team challenges throughout the camp – from goalkicking relays to paddle boarding.

But there is a challenge of a different kind brewing.

Roos announces that there will be a Masterchef challenge and a trivia night.

The trivia night will be held on Sunday night. Jade Rawlings will be the trivia master – something he has done throughout his football career and rises to the occasion for. He loves his music, pop culture and trivia, and has a dry sense of humour, so no doubt it’ll be a fun night.

Roos suggests that the trivia night will cover subjects such as – surprise, surprise – footy and general sports questions. The inside word is there will be a few other topics covered, so it’ll be another good test for the boys.

The Masterchef competition is at the suggestion of Simon Goodwin. Each of the groups must cook a dish for the coaches. The coaches will be the judges. This will be held on Tuesday evening.

The players must bring the dish to the coaches’ apartment.

Coaches will judge the dish on taste, because as Roos says “none of us are that qualified to judge on anything else, let alone presentation, because I don’t care about presentation – as long as it tastes good!”

From there, the coaches will determine the winner.

Roos says the smartest teams will go and do a little bit of a survey with the coaches to find out what they like.

The inside word from Roos is that he’s a man of simple tastes. But he says it’s going to be a bit of a challenge with the other coaches, who all have different tastes. Roos says “as long as it’s nice and tasty, I’m happy with that”.


Training is under way. It’s the start of an incredibly solid session.

There is a good atmosphere at the Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex, with a host of Melbourne supporters out in force to watch on.

The Queensland Demons put a barbeque on for the locals and Melbourne fans. It really is a great atmosphere with more than 300 supporters at the ground.  


The boys break for training and come inside the rooms for five to 10 minutes to effectively bring the players’ core temperature down.

Each line group gathers for a quick chat. The boys are dripping with sweat. But they’re pumping themselves up to “keep going again” – that’s the strong message filtering through the rooms.


The players head back out on the track for another intense session.

It really is incredible to watch as they train until around midday.

Afterwards, I catch up with elite performance manager Dave Misson, who says the session was always planned to be one of the toughest.

The session is broken into four quarters with football drills.

At the end of each quarter, the players have to complete a running set.

Misson says the players “got through really well in tough conditions”.          

Jeremy Howe says it’s as tough a session as he can remember this pre-season.


The wheelie bins doubling up as ice baths are extremely popular.

Soon after the boys have done their recovery, they mingle with the locals, signing autographs and having photos taken.

It’s a great atmosphere and there is plenty of red and blue. On top of the tough session that the boys completed with gusto, it’s been a good day for the club.


The players and staff arrive back at the apartments before taking the rest of the afternoon and most of Sunday off. The squad will return back to the apartments at 5pm.

Several players have fishing trips planned; others are keen to hit the beach or simply relax during their time off, before preparing for another tough few days.

The staff gathers for a dinner in Mooloolaba before calling it a night.