Demons recruit Riley winning fitness battle

AUSTRALIAN RULES

If life  under new coach Paul Roos wasn’t enough to excite Melbourne Demons recruit Aidan Riley, a quicker than expected injury rehabilitation will have the former Wollongong Lions star buzzing for the new campaign.

After arriving at the Demons in the off-season with a broken leg, Riley has been working tirelessly away from the main playing group and is on course to put himself in the selection frame.

‘‘At the moment it is ahead of where we planned,’’ Riley said.

 ‘‘I talked to Roosy (Paul Roos) and when they picked me up the goal was for me to play midway through the year, sort of round 12.

‘‘The way I am tracking at the moment I should be right for the first round of VFL, which should give me a good chance to put some solid games down and be putting my hand up for selection early in the year.

‘‘It is all tracking pretty well and my leg feels pretty good at the moment, so it is just a matter of not trying to do too much and just getting all the load in properly and managing it well.’’

While he is yet to begin conditioning training, the 22-year-old wants to rejoin the playing group inside a month, with the Demons’ VFL affiliate Casey Scorpians contesting their first match on April 6.

He had made 12 appearances in three injury-riddled seasons in Adelaide, becoming just the second local export to feature at the elite level, but has moved to the banks of the Yarra to join the Demons revolution. 

‘‘I am really enjoying it. It’s good being in a different environment and different to what I was used to at the Crows,’’ Riley said.

‘‘I am really enjoying how training has been going and all the new coaches and players.’’

Among those new coaches is former Swans premiership-winning mentor Roos.

After failing to play in a finals campaign since 2006, the Demons took action and recruited the highly-valued Hall of Famer and Riley believes the move is already paying dividends. 

‘‘His main thing is he has an aura about him. All the boys sort of hang off everything he says and I think it is because he has the respect of everyone,’’ Riley said.

‘‘He is so knowledgeable and he has had a lot of success as a coach in the past. I think everyone is hoping he can bring that with him and is eager learn off him. 

‘‘Hopefully we can go a long way from the stuff he teaches us and hopefully move towards the ultimate goal of winning a premiership.’’

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