The Demons are excited about young midfielder Jimmy Toumpas
I've heard a fair bit of people bagging us but it doesn't worry me at all because I know the club is in a great position
IF YOU want to sense the buzz that comes to a player one month into their lifelong dream, check out Melbourne's Jimmy Toumpas.
He has a bounce in his step and a grin that makes the Luna Park entrance look like the Mona Lisa.
With a presence that makes people want to be around him, Toumpas creates the sort of energy that can enliven groups. The quality of his kicking has been noticed too, which always proves a handy asset when settling in to a football club.
And that name: it curls off the lip like a drumming crescendo.
You get a sense that while Toumpas has always carried such vivacity it might have gone up a notch in recent weeks.
His face on the night of the NAB AFL Draft was a mixture of relief and joy. He could hardly wait to tell his family he was wearing No.5.
Now, time has not dimmed his excitement when asked to describe the first three weeks at the club.
"It's been awesome," Toumpas told AFL.com.au.
And that is before he has played a game.
Toumpas, the No.4 pick in the draft, will be taken along slowly. His pre-Christmas program was modified as a result of having had both hips scoped in August. Some bone was causing a few problems so it was removed before the season ended and during this pre-season he has trained some days and had a rest on others.
It was a surprise to many that Toumpas was still available for at pick No.4 and the Demons had no hesitation picking him up.
He was pleased with the result, not deterred by the fierce grilling he received in Melbourne's AFL Combine interview nor Melbourne's on-field performance during 2012.
"They were one of the tougher interviews I had at the camp. I was definitely a bit intimidated by Neeldy at that point, but he has softened up a little bit which is good," Toumpas said.
"They were very tough and asked some tough questions but I've got to know them pretty well now and they seem to be awesome."
As to the club's status as one of the competition's recent battlers and other people's perception of the Demons, Toumpas just shrugs it off.
"It's actually got a great culture. I've heard a fair bit of people bagging us but it doesn't worry me at all because I know the club is in a great position. The fans are really supportive, and everything is going really well at the moment so I couldn't be happier," he said.
With Jack Trengove and Jordie McKenzie adopting mentor-like roles for the new arrival, he has every chance to develop into the ultimate professional.
That's the aim but Toumpas knows he has a long way to go to get to where he wants to.
"The professionalism of all the boys is a massive step up from where it was from SANFL level," he said.
"At the moment pre-season is just about trying to get myself in the best possible nick to play games for the Melbourne Football Club."