Four AFL teams confirmed for pre-season training on Coast
AFL: The improved Melbourne Demons are one of four AFL clubs confirmed for pre-season training camps on the Sunshine Coast with club official Josh Mahoney suggesting it will be a crucial part of their preparation.
The Dees, Hawthorn, Carlton and the Western Bulldogs will train at Maroochydore Multi Sports Complex during summer.
It will be the fifth time in a row Melbourne has decided to use the region as a platform.
"We've been going to the Sunshine Coast for a number of years and we think it's a really important part of our pre-season and we're really looking forward to getting up there again in late January," Demons general manager of football operations Mahoney said.
"It's a good opportunity to get out of Victoria, so it mixes it up, and there are great facilities. All the training we want to do in Melbourne we can do on the Sunshine Coast.
"And it's a great time for the players to spend some time together and build some strong relationships."
While training won't be any more intense, the weather could play a role.
"In previous years, the extra humidity and heat has presented an extra challenge to the players and that's an additional benefit they get going to the Sunshine Coast."
After featuring in the finals this season, for the first time in 12 years, Dees' faithful hope the team can experience another strong campaign.
"That's the plan. But because we made it to the finals our pre-season starts later this year, so we've got the players for less time (to prepare for 2019)," Mahoney said.
"That means it's even more important we plan our pre-season really well and the camp in Maroochydore is going to play a crucial part in that (pre-season) and hopefully we get better again."
The Bulldogs are back for their fifth straight camp while Hawthorn have had several stops in the region in the past.
"The Sunshine Coast really has become a home away from home for a number of AFL clubs who love coming here and they've gone on to have some great success in the seasons following camps with us," Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Cr Jason O'Pray said.
"The high-quality sporting facilities we have in our region, along with the great weather conditions and friendly sports-loving community, have proven to be a winning combination.
"We are proud of the partnerships we've developed with these clubs over the years and those ties continue to build."
The Blues will travel to the region with newly appointed Director of High Performance Andrew Russell, who was with with Hawthorn during their previous camps on the Coast.
Community open sessions are expected to be held, so fans should be able to see the players.
Hawthorn will be on the Coast before Christmas, with the others arriving later.