Cale Morton is yet to play a game at his new club West Coast after five seasons at Melbourne
WEST Coast's Cale Morton has highlighted the differences in training standards between his former club Melbourne and the Eagles, saying his eyes have been opened as to how hard the AFL's top clubs work.
Although Morton takes full responsibility for his own poor form that saw him traded at the end of 2012, he wasn't aware of the gap between his former club and the best teams until he moved to the Eagles.
"The training standards are a lot higher over here," Morton said.
"I think there's quite a big gap at the moment," he said.
"But until you do change clubs, and you are involved as a player you don't really notice the changes as much."
The 23-year-old was the fourth selection in the 2007 NAB AFL Draft. He played 73 matches in five seasons with the Demons before being traded to West Coast last season for pick 88.
Morton, originally from Lake Grace in Western Australia, said he was blown away by how hard the West Coast midfielders trained during the pre-season.
"At Melbourne I was probably one of the better runners, but when I got here I was probably scraping in the top 10.
"I had a full pre-season with the midfield and it was a real eye-opener to see how hard the young midfielders at West Coast like Luke Shuey, Chris Masten, and Scott Selwood work."
Morton was selected ahead of two of those three players when he was recruited by the Demons in 2007, while Masten went one pick earlier at No.3.
Morton played 40 of a possible 44 matches in his first two seasons at Melbourne, averaging nearly 21 disposals and kicking 21 goals.
By comparison, Masten played 27 matches in the same period, averaging 19 disposals, kicking six goals. Selwood, who was taken with pick 22 in the same draft, played 23 matches and averaged 13 touches with four goals.
Shuey was drafted with pick 18 in 2008 along with Jack Watts (taken No.1 by Melbourne), Nic Naitanui (No.2, West Coast), Sam Blease (No.17, Melbourne), and James Strauss (No.19, Melbourne). Shuey played just six matches in his first two seasons.
Morton is now working hard in the WAFL for East Perth as he waits for an opportunity to open up in the West Coast side.
"I've already played 73 games of football and I feel like I'm an AFL player and I don't want to be playing the WAFL but the reality is when you come to a good club like West Coast you've got to do your time, I suppose," he said.
Morton does not regret his time at Melbourne and said his fade in form was not the result of any failures on the club's behalf.
"I had a bit of pressure on me when I first went over there but I managed to have a couple of good years.
"Unfortunately my form, through no one else's fault but my own, just dropped off a bit.
"I got injured at crucial times over the past few years and didn't really get a full pre-season in but I don't regret it at all."
Morton felt that Melbourne was improving but lacked the leadership that is ever-present at West Coast.
"It's probably something that goes under the radar," he said.
"I haven't heard that said much but it makes a big difference to have superstars like Coxy (Dean Cox), and Kerry (Daniel Kerr), and even Nic Nat (Naitanui), walking around the changerooms and setting a standard on the track and on game day, and there's also such good leaders here at West Coast in Darren Glass.
"Until you play with him or train with him you don't know how influential he is amongst the playing group because he's actually quite quiet.
"But he just leads by example.
"I'm sure someone at Melbourne will pop up like that in the next couple of years but at the moment they probably don't have anyone like a Darren Glass."