MELBOURNE defender Steven May wants to channel Harris Andrews and Darcy Moore to become an All-Australian in 2021.
After a breakout second-place finish in the Demons' best and fairest last year, May has zeroed in on the "elite" backmen in the competition to further his output.
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May was ranked 45th in the competition for intercept possessions last season, a stat he wants to rectify with the Demons' rise back up the ladder in 2021.
"I was really good in the one-on-one's last year, but I only halved the contest, I didn't win enough," May told AFL.com.au.
"If you look at your All-Australian defenders in (Harris) Andrews, (Darcy) Moore and Luke Ryan, they would win the ball back, not just halve it.
"One of my focuses this year has been that … I don't lose too many contests, but I don't win them either and that's something that will take me into the elite group of modern-day defenders."
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The 29-year-old's increased aggression comes in line with the Demons' new style as they attempt to overcome the tag they were hit with last year.
"As everyone would've joked about last year, we get the ball inside 50 but we don't lock it in and don't score enough from it," May said.
"That's where most of our growth is going to come from. We've been doing a lot right but that's such a key stat and if you don't make teams pay, they'll get away with one, then two and all of a sudden they've got the momentum.
"It's pretty much a more aggressive, team-based defence. We're more involved with the midfield now, it's not so much the back six against the front six, we're trying to defend as one, all 18 guys on the field."
The former Sun, who will partner with Jake Lever and Adam Tomlinson in the key defensive posts this year, sat out match simulation last Friday after a slight tweak of his ankle two days prior.
However, he's been back in full training this week in a big boost for the Demons after several years of interrupted summers.
"We had a longer break and I gave the mind and body a really good rest. I've come back hungrier and I missed it," he said.
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"Usually when you don't play finals it's a short break and you're back into training. This year we didn't come back until January. Most of us got our times and the fitness staff are happy so we've been able to get straight into footy.
"I was within 10 seconds of my PB (in the running) which came after the lockdown last year when we did our mini pre-season.
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"And we needed to be within 10 seconds of our time (this year). Most of the boys got their times and I was pretty glad because you had to do it again if you didn't."
And May has already established a competitive match-up with forward recruit Ben Brown, a player he's looking forward to not having to defend this season.
"I used to hate playing on him, he's quick, he's long and he runs and jumps at the ball," he said.
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"The thing about Ben Brown, and something some other key forwards don't do, is he takes the ball at full speed out in front of his eye.
"(I used to) try to disrupt his run and put him off-balance because he's longer than me. It's been a good competition so far as well as all of the guys including Sam Weideman and Tom McDonald."