WORKING HARD: Melbourne’s Michael Hibberd battles it out in the heat at Maroochydore. Picture: Warren Lynam.
WORKING HARD: Melbourne’s Michael Hibberd battles it out in the heat at Maroochydore. Picture: Warren Lynam.

Demons thriving this pre-season: defender

AFL: Melbourne defender Michael Hibberd says they're relishing an "unbelievable" pre-season, despite an injury to star player Max Gawn.

The Demons have had an intense training camp on the Sunshine Coast, which was soured by the ruckman's knee mishap on Friday.

Gawn suffered a knock during a match simulation drill at Maroochydore, sustaining a moderate strain of his left medial ligament.

"He's pressing for Round 1 and we know how important he is to us and our team so we're hoping it's a quick recovery for Max and we can get him back sooner rather than later," Hibberd said after training yesterday.

The Demons are otherwise enjoying a near-perfect preparation, according to the 30-year-old.

"I think we've had an unbelievable pre-season."

"Injuries are the thing you look at, at this time of the year and we don't have too many in rehab.

"We've got a lot of guys out on the track and a lot of guys are hitting their numbers at time trials and skin folds and that kind of stuff, so I feel like we've had a really positive pre-season.

"We're heading into games now (with pre-season matches later this month), and we just need to keep on building."

After contesting a preliminary final in 2018, the Demons dived to 17th place last season but Hibberd says they could surprise in 2020.

"No-one thought Brisbane was going to finish in the top four last year and there could be teams who pop up again. It's such a tight competition now. Anyone on their day can win."

"You just need to rock up (to games) and we're training our hardest to make sure we rock up every week."

The Demons have endured some tough sessions in the heat at Maroochydore during the past week.

"I think we play up in Queensland twice this year, so it's been good to sweat it out up here," Hibberd said.

"I think if you are running in these hard sessions in the heat and you're sweating it out it has to be better for your body.

"You get back to Melbourne and it makes the same sorts of sessions (there) a bit easier."


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