IT’S BEEN some year for Christian Petracca.
In what many have deemed a breakout season, the 24-year-old has taken his game to a new level, with his efforts officially being recognised at Melbourne’s Best and Fairest event this week.
Winning the top honour, the Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Memorial Trophy, Petracca joined the red and blue’s greats – and it’s an accomplishment that warms his heart.
“It’s an amazing achievement and honour and I’m really proud of what I’ve done this year,” he told Melbourne Media at the club’s night of nights.
“Even looking behind me, at the people who are second to fifth – Mayzy (Steven May), [Jack] Viney, Clarry (Clayton Oliver) and Langers (Ed Langdon) – with the years they’ve had, it could’ve gone to anyone.
“To wear the red and blue each week is a true honour and to win the Best and Fairest this year in such a difficult year, I’m pretty proud.”
Adapting to a new role this season, Petracca dominated the Demons’ midfield, recording the second-most contested possessions in the competition (216) and averaging 23.5 disposals a game.
He also managed 108 score involvements and 15 goals of his own – proof that he can be just as damaging all around the ground.
“I think the coaching group have allowed me to play to my talents and play to my strengths,” Petracca said.
“I feel like as a midfielder, I’m good around the contest, but when that’s not going well, I feel like I can go down forward and play a vital role as a forward as well.
“I see myself as a midfielder, but at the moment … I want to play any role for my team.”
The No.2 draft pick’s development has come in waves in 2020.
While there’s been talk around his fitness being the key, he takes a much more holistic approach, with his personal growth a big focus.
And while he’s pleased with his progress, there’s certainly no slowly down.
“You don’t play the game for individual accolades – you want team success,” Petracca said.
“We didn’t make finals this year and it is frustrating. I’m sure all of our supporters out there are frustrated, and I can assure you that we’re the same.
“In saying that, the work I’ve put in over the off-season to develop, not just my football ability or my game, but also off the field, developing me as a person – I’m pretty proud to win the award.
“I’m a young leader … I think it’s time guys like myself and Clarry (Oliver) start stepping up and become more leaders, and start maturing and developing into those roles.
“I think that’s where we can definitely improve as a club.”
With Melbourne’s 2020 campaign coming to a premature end last weekend, the group have now departed the Twin Waters high-performance hub, with chance to take a break before returning to Victoria.
But while the Dees’ No.5 will make the most of the opportunity, he’s already looking ahead to 2021.
“I can’t wait,” Petracca said.
“I’ll have a little break first; get away, enjoy the Queensland sunshine and then it’s straight back to work.
“This pre-season, for me and for the club, is massive. It’s focusing on our goals for next year and really putting a body of work down to potentially play in Round 1 at the MCG in front of our faithful fans.
“I’m already getting impatient – I want to play next week, so it’s frustrating.
“But at the same time, you can only control what you can control, and that’s going away, having a good break, mentally refreshing yourself and then coming back and attacking the year strong.”
Watch the moment Petracca was crowned the 2020 Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Memorial Trophy winner below.