Fitter, faster Petracca closes in on new deal with Melbourne

A ripped Christian Petracca is on track to remain a Demon beyond 2020 with the Melbourne dynamo’s management in talks with the club about a contract extension.

After a big pre-season in which he transformed his body, Petracca tantalised Dees fans with a dominant showing against Adelaide in Melbourne’s Marsh series opener at Casey Fields. Petracca had 38 disposals, of which 27 were contested, and kicked 3.1 in coach Simon Goodwin side’s 33-point win.

Christian Petracca dashes clear of the pack.Credit:Getty Images

Looking noticeably trimmer than in previous years, Petracca played in the midfield, providing a taste of what could come in 2020.

The No. 2 draft pick from 2014 has shown glimpses of his potential across his 85-game career and finished a creditable fifth in the Dees best and fairest last season having switched between the midfield and forward line.

Petracca, who turned 24 in January, is out-of-contract at season’s end but sources close to the situation told The Age that contract discussions between Melbourne and the bullocking playmaker’s agent Robbie D’Orazio of Connors Sports Management were going positively.

For context, Petracca has never accumulated more than 29 disposals in a premiership season match, and has polled just five Brownlow Medal votes across his career.

Should he regularly repeat the sort of showing he displayed against the Crows, a double-figure Brownlow tally beckons this year, while his market value should also increase.

Goodwin was full of praise for Petracca after Saturday’s match, pointing to Petracca’s efforts on the track as a reason for his brilliant output.

"I certainly haven't seen him play a better game," Goodwin said.

"He's done a hell of a lot of work to get his [fitness] base to a point where he can do what he's doing now."

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy compared Petracca to Richmond superstar Dustin Martin on the Fox Footy broadcast of Saturday's game.

"I think we've got the blueprint. Isn't he Dustin Martin-esque?" Healy said.

"He's got that capacity, he can go into the middle. I mean Dusty is in a stratosphere of his own, and I understand that, but this guy has got that unique capacity to do the damage at both.

"Maybe he's just a mid-forward. You don't go and waste your time down in defence, you've got the foot soldiers to just run down there."

Petracca and Jack Viney are among the highest-profile of a long list of Dees whose contracts expire at the end of the season.

After several injury-interrupted seasons, midfielder Viney is widely expected to lose the Demons’ captaincy which he has held with Nathan Jones for the past three seasons.

Jones announced at the end of last season that he would stand down from the role. Dees player have voted on this year’s captaincy however Goodwin said after Saturday’s match that the club had several other steps to go through for an announcement on the leadership could be made.

All-Australian ruckman Max Gawn is favourite to be the club’s sole captain. The big man missed Saturday’s match against the Crows as he recovers from a knee injury however Goodwin reiterated that Gawn remained on track to take on West Coast in round one.

The Dees’ next Marsh series match is against Hawthorn in Launceston on March 6 however Melbourne are also scheduled to take on North Melbourne in a practice match at Arden Street this Friday.

Melbourne are among the clubs least-affected by Friday night’s state of origin bushfire relief match with small West Australian defender Neville Jetta – named in the All-Stars squad – the Dees’ sole representative in the clash at Marvel Stadium.

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