MELBOURNE’S return to training this week has been different in a number of ways.
Not only have the boys had to get used to some strict AFL guidelines in regard to COVID-19, but they’ve also had a change of facilities.
The Demons have moved their entire football department to Casey Fields, giving them the space and privacy required to get the best out of the 2020 season.
And while the players have certainly embraced the first two days back, James Harmes may be the most excited of all.
“Mum and dad live just up the road – about five minutes away,” he told Melbourne Media.
“I grew up down here and played a lot of footy at Casey Fields.
“My local club actually played on the junior ground over there, so I’ve played a lot of footy here.”
The 24-year-old is no stranger to Victoria’s South-Eastern suburbs, and although the drive will take some getting used to, the players are already noticing the benefits of their new home.
“The boys don’t mind it out here,” Harmes said.
“Obviously we’ve got really good facilities and we’re not sharing them with other teams, so it’s a little bit different to AAMI, but the boys seem really happy so far.”
With three separate change rooms in action, the Demons have been able to meet the social distancing measures required, while also being split into six small groups in their first week back at the club.
“At the moment we’re just training defenders, forwards and mids,” Harmes said.
“I got a heap of training in over the iso period and I’m just excited to get back.
“It’s obviously a new role for me [in defence] and I really enjoyed it over the pre-season and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
The Dees will train out of Casey for the foreseeable future, looking to make the most out of the secluded complex and the large sized ground.