Jack Viney at Melboune training
MELBOURNE father-son recruit Jack Viney says it's important for him to harness his aggression as he enters his first season on an AFL list.
Eventually selected with Melbourne's second round pick, No.27, in the NAB AFL Draft after Port Adelaide were the first club to make a bid for his services with pick No.7, Viney was considered top-10 value after a junior career noted for ferocious attack on the ball and the opposition ball carrier.
However Viney has recognised the need to direct his commitment and courage in the right manner as he prepares to enter the AFL in 2013.
"At the moment it is a bit all over the shop, probably inefficient, so if I can really focus that aggression on specific parts of the game than I will be a better player for it," Viney said.
"The way I play will be more efficient and I will save more energy."
With a physique that is ready to play, a look that brings to mind the famous figure of Greek mythology, the Minotaur, it's tempting to imagine him making an immediate impact on the competition.
But Viney remains well aware he has much to learn and is attacking his first full pre-season with that in mind.
"I still feel personally that I have got a lot of development to do before I play AFL football so I am really trying to cram as much as I can into each session and just try to get better every session, because I know that is what I need to do to try to get a game next year."
While Viney is confident in his ability, he is not conceited.
His attitude, he says, just means he will push himself hard to compete with teammates to get better. He understands that the leap from under-18 football to senior football is huge but also that there is no time to waste in trying to bridge that gap.
He has been following around teammates Nathan Jones and David Rodan on the track and when assessing vision, and taking on advice from teammates and coaches whenever and wherever he can.
"[When] playing under-18s you think you know most things about the game but after coming into an AFL environment I have just found every day I am consistently learning so much," Viney said.
Viney was exposed to Melbourne's system throughout 2012 after committing to the club as a father-son draftee but he said the club eased him into the fray during that period.
This pre-season – his first in recent years that has not been modified because of the need to manage groin issues – has ramped up the pressure, and the 18-year-old has been blown away by the intensity of training.
The extended time spent at the club before being on the list has had its benefits. Viney rarely falls asleep now due to tiredness as he did last season, but has worked out what he needs to do to remain on an even keel.
"It's fair to say my social life has been hindered a fair bit because when I get home I just want to sleep and eat. I need to spend a lot more time on recovery," he said.
Even as the 2013 season moves closer, Viney – the son of Todd, who played 233 games for the Demons – is yet to think too much about playing. He is taking things day by day, learning during 2012 that it's more useful to worry about what can be controlled rather than thinking too far ahead, and taking on board the advice from those who have been there and done that.
"The club has done really well in recruiting some older guys," Viney said.
"They're really getting around the younger guys and developing our leadership skills and knowledge about the game."