Petracca reveals secret behind Demons’ turnaround

By Anna Pavlou and Bronte Gossling

Melbourne premiership midfielder Christian Petracca says the Demons’ recent uptick in form is due to the team having “found our brand again”.

Petracca, who has been utilised as a forward after teammate Bayley Fritsch went down with a medium-term foot injury earlier in the year, said he has enjoyed spending time closer to goal.

“I’m absolutely loving it,” Petracca told Wide World of Sports of his move up forward.

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”My personal game, I find … when I’m playing my good footy is when I’m having a balance between midfield and forward. So I really like playing there.”

After a mid-season slump, Melbourne has climbed up to second on the ladder courtesy of a five-game winning streak and faces a red-hot Carlton side on Saturday night.

Petracca said the reason behind the uptick in Melbourne’s fortunes is simple.

“I think we’ve kind of found our brand again. You know, our contests and defence is something that we really pride ourselves on, in the last five or six weeks, we’ve really shown that,” he said.

“We’ve been consistent throughout the year but I feel like we’re really starting to dominate games with that.”

Theory for Demons’ ‘drop in standards’

The 2021 Norm Smith medallist was also quick to defend the Demons’ attack, after a mid-season slump saw them unable to score over 80 points for four weeks.

“Our offence as well has been questioned over the last year, I guess, over the year, to be honest, about not scoring big numbers, but I feel like we are starting to put some points on the board,” Petracca said.

“We want to be peaking at the right time and there’s still three games left until the finals, so it’s a good time to start winning games.”

Melbourne is set to receive an added boost for the Carlton clash, with star midfielder Clayton Oliver poised to return after a lengthy layoff due to hamstring troubles.

“He’s an absolute competitor and a warrior. He’s itching to play,” Petracca said of his All-Australian teammate.

As for the finals, the Demons themselves are itching to win their second flag in three years, this time on home soil.

“We just want to win. We just want to have team success,” Petracca said.

The Demons face the charging Blues on Saturday night at the MCG, with Melbourne fighting to remain hot on the heels of ladder-leaders Collingwood.

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