MELBOURNE made the most of its main contact training on Wednesday, getting the full group together for an important hit-out.
While there are still some restrictions in place, the session looked a little more standard as the Dees countdown the days to their Round 2 clash with Carlton.
After a lengthy warm-up in the cool Casey conditions, the Demons got to work.
Here’s how the session looked.
With assistant coach Ben Mathews taking the whistle, Melbourne started out with some match simulation.
The play would get underway with a stoppage at half-back, giving the boys an opportunity to move the ball forward quickly.
And they did just that.
It was a fast-paced session with an emphasis on hitting up the leading forwards, as the Demons converted their work efficiently onto the scoreboard.
Ed Langdon was a standout, covering plenty of ground as the ball pinged from wing-to-wing, while Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch worked in tandem inside 50.
The wind didn’t play as big a factor this week, allowing the Dees to be much cleaner with the ball than they were seven days earlier.
After the full ground drills were complete – following a set shot at each interval – the players broke into their lines.
It was the midfielders battling it out on the wing, and the forwards facing off against the defenders for drills inside 50.
As the session drew to a close, the boys took the opportunity to get in some extra touch work, with set shots for some and marking for others.
Kade Chandler and Fritsch took a liking to the specky bag, while Mitch Hannan also deserves a mention for launching a monster torpedo from the centre square to wrap things up.
Just 10 days out from Round 2, Melbourne looks to be in good shape with close to a full list on the track.
Clayton Oliver and Jake Lever had a lighter run on Casey’s second field as they manage their loads, but will both be back with the main group on Saturday.
Dees fans will be glad to hear Aaron vandenBerg is continuing to progress well in his recovery from a broken foot.
The hard-at-it midfielder racked up the disposals and made his presence felt in the middle, as he looks to be edging closer to full fitness.
Nathan Jones is another one to watch in the early stages of the season, having reinvented himself in a role at half-forward.
The former skipper missed Round 1 with injury, but he could be a valuable addition to the side with his class forward of centre.
And at the other end of the field, it’s 18-year-old Trent Rivers who continues to impress.
Rivers, who was selected with pick No.32 in the 2019 National Draft, is a penetrating kick from half-back and he opened up the play for his side on Wednesday.
You didn’t have to be close to the action to hear the talk from the field.
The communication was high during match play and the boys looked organised behind the ball.
Max Gawn liked what he saw, addressing the boys in a socially distanced huddle, before Angus Brayshaw closed the morning with a well-received joke.
Before heading in for lunch, Adam Tomlinson was on media duties, chatting about the big contact session and previewing the season’s restart next Saturday.
Tomlinson: “We make the most of it – it just means you give it your all when you’re out there for that situation. It just means what we do out there has the right intent and purpose to what we’re doing.”