Story by Matt Burgan for melbournefc.com.au
MELBOURNE has arrived on the Sunshine Coast for its 11-day pre-season camp at Maroochydore.
The Demons hit the ground running, training shortly after arriving in Queensland late Monday morning.
Veteran midfielder Daniel Cross said the players were excited about their upcoming northern experience.
“We’re looking forward to training together – we’ve got a lot of work to do and there is going to be a real focus on our game plan, so it’ll be a good chance to get a lot of that done and some bonding time,” he said.
“From day one [since I’ve been at the club], we’ve definitely made strides ahead and we’re making inroads and improvements. [But] even though you might be catching up, other sides might be moving further ahead, so you’ve got to stay up with the competition.
“The feedback we’re getting from the coaches is that they’ve been really happy with the standards that we’ve been setting for ourselves as a playing group.”
Cross, now in his second season with Melbourne after an outstanding 210-game career with the Western Bulldogs, was bullish about the red and blue’s prospects.
He added that he had felt that way ever since he arrived at the end of the 2013 season.
“It’s all positives at this stage, but you can only judge yourself on what our group’s doing and it’s certainly been positive so far,” he said.
“Listening to guys like Nathan Jones and Dunny (Lynden Dunn), who have been here in the dark days [you] really see that optimism. Roosy has got a lot to do with that. He’s certainly brought in a great culture and he wants professional habits from each player.
“We’re all held accountable to our actions and that’s what he expects. Those guys see real improvements in our list and the direction that we’re heading and that’s a long way up the ladder this year and the years to come.”
Cross said he had been impressed by Heritier Lumumba and Ben Newton’s work in the midfield, plus the club’s first-year players selected in the November NAB AFL Draft.
“We’ve brought in some terrific players who we think are really going to help our team this year. We certainly have to go to another level – that’s for sure,” he said.
“We’re certainly getting some good depth in our list and that’s what we need.”
As for Melbourne’s fortunes in 2015, Cross didn’t put any limitations on what could be achieved.
“Guys are always loathing putting numbers on the amount of wins. You definitely want to be pushing for finals. I’m not going to stand here and say ‘we’re not going to aim for finals’ because it probably hasn’t been spoken [about] enough at our club in recent years,” he said.
“We definitely want to push for finals – how many wins that’s going to take, I’m not sure. Every side at this point in time is aiming to play finals. If not, all this hard work is not worth it.
“We’d love to be there at that point in September or October when the Grand Final is this year, but we’ll know how we’re progressing towards the middle of the year and hopefully at that stage, we’re along that path.”
head to www.melbournefc.com.au for camp updates