Demons in good shape - Burgess
Darren Burgess says Melbourne are pleased with the return to full fitness of a crop of players who suffered pre-season setbacks.
The Demons went into the campaign under pressure to quickly erase memories of last year, when they won just five games and finished next to bottom on the ladder.
They made it eight consecutive defeats when they went down to West Coast by 27 points in the opening round.
The club were not in an ideal position to get their campaign off to a positive start, given that the likes of Joel Smith and Braydon Preuss were sidelined.
Smith and Preuss were battling quad and knee setbacks respectively, while the other unavailable Demons were Mitch Hannan and Harry Petty - both out with groin problems - and Kade Chandler (finger).
The club's performance manager Burgess says those players are now back to full fitness and available for training with the main group.
"They've been on the full training program for a while now, so we expect them to train with the main group, so they won't be an issue," said Burgess. "I think with guys like Hannan and Petty, they've just been allowed to get a good volume of work in.
"There's always a bit of a rush to try to get them right for Round 1, and when we knew that might be the only round for a while, then we could take the foot off the accelerator a little bit and allow them to get a really good training base, which they've got now.
"We're hoping that serves them well for the whole year."
Also available to train with the main group is rookie Harley Bennell, who has had a luckless run with calf injuries in recent years.
Speaking of the former Fremantle and Gold Coast player, Burgess indicated his body was in the best shape it had been in since he joined the club last December.
"He'll certainly be ready to train with the group, but we have to be a bit cautious because it's the first time he's done footy training since June last year," he said. "We'll be taking it slowly with him, but he'll certainly be training with the main group which will be exciting ... everyone's looking forward to seeing what he can do."
View all Australian Rules betting