Injury concerns diminishing for Salem

28 February 2018 07:47:03 EST

An uninterrupted pre-season has put Melbourne's Christian Salem in a confident mood as he looks to take his game to the next level.

Salem, who was recruited with pick No.9 in the 2013 AFL Draft, hadn't managed more than 12 games in any of his first three seasons.

But then last year he played 16 matches, and only missed one of the first 14 rounds.

The 22-year-old has been hampered by a series of hamstring injuries as well as a pre-season incident when he was bizarrely knocked out by a brick in training camp.

He's been able to have a full pre-season this time and is ready to shift into an inside midfield role after being thrown between wing and half-back in recent years.

"I got my body in a good condition after a few hiccups the last few years. For me, getting that consistency back into my game is most important," said Salem.

The youngster has already noticed a major difference in the way he's been able to prepare his body for the rigours of a full AFL season.

"That's probably the biggest shift to be honest, the confidence in my body," he said. "That's something I haven't had much of the last couple of years so I've put in a lot of work, with my mechanics and a few other things so I'm looking forward to it (the year ahead).”

Salem, who averaged 21.4 disposals last year, put in a good showing in the Demons' opening JLT Community Series game against North Melbourne at the weekend.

He gathered 19 disposals at 84.2 per cent efficiency, winning five clearances and contributing two goal assists.

Melbourne are 10/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Demons are 1/9 to finish in the top eight.

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