May’s plan to prove critics wrong
STEVEN May is primed to rebound from last year's disastrous pre-season and is already hitting the Demons gym in preparation to play as Melbourne's dominant last-line tall.
The Demons this week traded away their alternate full back in Sam Frost despite him playing 22 games on the opposition's best forward ever week.
Analyst David King labelled May as Melbourne's most under-pressure player given the former Gold Coast captain now had to stand tall.
Melbourne football boss Josh Mahoney believes the club's trio of defenders in May, Oscar McDonald and Jake Lever will benefit from a summer developing chemistry together.
May and Lever only played eight games each while McDonald was in such bad form the club pulled him out of football to do an intensive mid-season training block.
Mahoney said May had learned the lessons of last year after coming back unfit, finishing last in a 2km time trial and eventually losing 6kg to get back into shape.
"Steven has already been at the club and he's training this week at the club. He's been doing running as well and he's looking in really good condition," Mahoney said.
"He is looking forward to having a solid pre-season and then we can see more of what we saw in the last seven or eight games.
"We see a big advantage in both Leven and May and Oscar McDonald completing pre-seasons and working together and really building that understanding together at training."
May admitted he was shocked to be hit with such consistent media scrutiny in a year where he also broke up with his partner and battled hamstring and groin issues.
Eventually coach Simon Goodwin gave him some home truths but also supported him in his bid to get into better shape.
"He whacked me between the eyes and I wasn't expecting that. Maybe at the time I was expecting an arm around the shoulder and he hit me with some truths," May said.
Max Gawn is likely to be elevated to co-captaincy along with Jack Viney, with Nathan Jones having stepped down from the role to allow others to flourish.
But Mahoney said that decision usually came post-Christmas after consultation with the playing group.
New addition Ed Langdon has not only improved his kicking efficiency, he will also bring instant leadership and character.
"In all the conversations we have had with him and speaking to the people who have had anything to do with Ed, he is considered to be a young leader. He is driving to be the best player he can be and he will not only help us coming into the club but off the field helping young players as well."