MELBOURNE co-captain Jack Trengove is more determined than ever to be recognised as one of the AFL's elite midfielders, and has assured Demons supporters his interrupted pre-season won't stand in his way.
Although unlikely to feature in the NAB Cup because of a stress fracture in his foot, the 21-year-old is confident he can establish himself as a premier inside midfielder this season and bounce back from a below-par 2012.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Trengove reveals the mistakes he made during his first year as the league's youngest co-captain and how he plans to learn from them.
As one of the early draft picks Melbourne secured in 2009, Trengove also provides his view on the tanking furore that has cast a cloud over the club's pre-season.
Trengove said an improved Demons list would allow him to finally ''nail down a position in the team'' in 2013 and revealed how a focus on adding muscle during the pre-season had left him confident of matching it with the league's best onballers.
''I've been sort of going through the midfield a bit, a bit on the wing and then going up forward,'' he said.
''You want to be versatile these days because of the sub rule, but you also want to nail down a position that's yours.
''I sort of see myself as an inside midfielder so that's my aim to get to this year.
''I've been getting stronger in the gym and getting fitter out on the track to be able to withstand the days when you are coming up against the likes of Jobe Watson, Josh Kennedy, and those other A-grade inside midfielders.
''But it's also about finding that happy balance between getting the inside ball and the on-the-burst, outside stuff and using your strengths to your advantage.
''You always get that extra edge of determination when you come off a disappointing year. I just want to be doing everything possible to try to take this club forward and get the success we really want. And that also means myself going to the next level.''
Trengove will begin running on Monday, with the aim to start full training in a month and possibly play in the club's final NAB Cup game in the build-up to Melbourne's round-one clash against Port Adelaide on March 31.
Even though doctors found the stress fracture early, Trengove said it was imperative he managed it properly from the outset to avoid long-term damage.