IN PREVIOUS years, living on a farm in Gerangamete has been somewhat of a disadvantage for Shelley Scott.
Last season’s Best and Fairest winner has faced road trips of up to two hours just to get to training, showing her commitment to Melbourne, and her career.
But living in regional Victoria has paid dividends in 2020, with the ability to catch up with her senior coach and get some extra sessions under her belt.
While others were trapped inside, Mick Stinear, who is based in Anglesea, was able to help Scott work on her touch and improve on some deficiencies in her game.
“There are just little things that he picks up on that you wouldn’t see yourself or you might not see running around with another teammate,” Scott told Melbourne Media.
“It’s definitely made a big difference to some of my fundamentals and it’s been bloody handy being able to have him there.”
Scott wasn’t the only Demon with access to Stinear’s knowledge, as teammate Maddi Gay joined in on some sessions, when allowed.
“It was all around regulations,” Scott said.
“We’ve done no contact and adhered to all the rules, but it’s just been honing in on some fundamentals to try to improve our game.
“It allows us to get a few things out of the way, a few fumbles, but also kind of allows us to start working on some stuff ahead of time which is beneficial.”
After a career-best season, you could argue Scott doesn’t have too much to work on.
The 32-year-old averaged 11 disposals and four marks as a key forward in 2020, but she has still been looking to develop her craft over the off-season.
“I’m trying to use my strengths to be a little bit more explosive and then just cleaning up my ground ball and handball and kicking,” she said.
“Just general improvement in those areas, so I’ve kept working on that as well.”
Scott also had the benefit of using gyms while many of her Victorian rivals couldn’t, building a solid foundation ahead of Melbourne’s ‘pre-pre-season’.
The Demons have been back at AAMI Park for a number of weeks now, albeit in a modified way, and Scott has been grateful to reunite with some familiar faces.
“I think I had only seen Mads (Gay), Lampy (Sarah Lampard), and I saw Lily (Mithen) once, since COVID cut the season short,” she said.
“Prior to that I hadn’t seen anyone, so it was just really nice to see them.”
And while spending so much time apart over the winter has been challenging, it has only left Scott hungrier for a return to action in 2021.
“It’s allowed everyone to have a nice little break,” she said.
“In the past, we’ve sort of gone from AFL to VFL back to AFL, so I think it’s been nice that everyone’s had a break from it, so that enthusiasm to get back into it is probably as strong as ever.”