MELBOURNE veteran Jordan Lewis is acutely aware he could spend time in the VFL next year but the four-time premiership player won't give up his place easily.
Lewis, 32, is entering his 15th AFL season and the final season of his three-year deal with Melbourne after crossing from Hawthorn at the end of 2016.
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The defender said he would be "kidding himself" if he didn't acknowledge that this could be his last year at AFL level and that he might not be a walk-up start in the Demons' side.
"You've got to be realistic in that sense," Lewis said after training on Wednesday.
"Certainly the way I'm training and the way I'm preparing, I'm going to give it everything realising that it could be my last year.
"My approach to the pre-season and this season is, 'What can I do differently and what can I improve on?' and I think that attitude will hopefully hold me in good stead for the season."
Lewis, who finished 10th in Melbourne's best and fairest count in 2018, said he had already held open and honest conversations with coach Simon Goodwin about his chances of playing at AFL level next year.
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"That was part of my exit interview in saying, 'Let's see what happens next year' and I don't want to be treated any differently to any young kid," Lewis said.
"If you're not performing at AFL level then you go back and play in the reserves and try to work your way back in as we saw (retired teammate) Bernie (Vince) do this year.
"If you play well, you stay in the side and if you don't, you play in the reserves."
Lewis plans to do the full pre-season despite the obvious question of whether he needs to be managed.
"Over my whole career I've been able to do 95 per cent of pre-seasons so my body actually enjoys the training," Lewis said.
"But 'Misso' (elite performance manager David Misson) and the medical staff are open, if I did have something, to modify me but at the moment it's pretty much do the program as is."
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Lewis revealed the Demons players have not reviewed the club's crushing 66-point preliminary final loss to West Coast together, but he said the coaches had been through it extensively.
It was a disappointing way to end a season full of positives after Melbourne made the finals for the first time since 2006.
"Our review of the season was more holistic on the season and the finals campaign and from a playing point of view you're still hurting. It's probably still too raw to go back and watch it," Lewis said.
"Hopefully the players learnt something along the way but I don't think we'll sit down and dissect it as a side."
Lewis said he would play a role in directing the focus of his younger teammates to looking toward the future, rather than dwelling on the past.
"Being an experienced player, you can forget about it a little easier than a younger player, I suppose," Lewis said.
"That's the beauty about football. If you have a bad game you can back it up the next time you run out on the field and certainly me and a lot of my teammates didn't perform the way we would have liked.
"That's the unfortunate part, we don't get another opportunity to attack that until the season starts."
Lewis also thought it unlikely that Melbourne would change its leadership model, with co-captains Nathan Jones and Jack Viney sharing the duties over the past two seasons.
"The feeling I get from 'Goody' is that we'll probably continue along that path," Lewis said.
"We'll have our leadership vote in February and Goody was pretty strong on having dual captains for however long he wants to do that and he hasn't signalled to us that he wants to change that so I would imagine it will stay the same."