Menzel’s mental challenge

Updated: January 6, 2016
Picture: AL PACKER
Daniel Menzel looks for an option during Geelong training today, Picture: AL PACKER

Daniel Menzel looks for an option during Geelong training today, Picture: AL PACKER

DANIEL Menzel’s body may be sounder than what it has been in four years, but the mental demons will take longer to overcome for the luckless Geelong forward.

Well into his first pre-season since the build-up to the 2011 season having battled back from four knee reconstructions, the 24-year-old says reminders of his body’s previous failures are never far away.

“It is a massive mental battle,” Menzel told media following a Cats training session at Newtown’s Elderslie Reserve on Wednesday morning.

“There’s things – we were even doing some one-on-one stuff over here before – and I occasionally get sore in the knee and it frustrates me because I can’t do it at 100 per cent and as well as I want.

“For a second or two I get really frustrated, but then I have to tell myself every single contest is going to make me better, it’s going to make me stronger, and I’ll be, at the end of this season, much better one-on-one than what I am now.

“It’s just about getting those repetitions in.”

Prodigiously talented, which we were reminded of by his four goals and memorable mark in his return match against Collingwood in the penultimate round of 2015, Menzel knows there is still room for improvement in his game.

That includes some of the basics that those who haven’t gone through what Menzel has take for granted.

“There’s still little things – agility, tackling, these sort of things,” he said.

“I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I go OK at them, but I’ve still got a lot of improvement in there.

“All aspects of my game I want to improve on, but there’s different things with the knee.

“I don’t go into a contest and think about it, but I do realise after it and when I look back on it I probably wasn’t 100 per cent there and I wasn’t at low as I could have been.

“Absolutely, it’s about working out where we can improve and what weaknesses I have got.

“You can’t have four ACL reconstructions and comeback completely perfect in your body, so there is absolutely a lot of areas to work on, but, for us, it’s about identifying and working on them.”

However, he is confident his  time away from the game has him prepared to make a consistent impact at AFL level.

“As I tell anyone who has gone through any injury – whether it’s one, two, three of four ACLs, there’s no reason why you can’t come back a stronger and more complete player,” Menzel said.

“You’ve got, in my case, four years in the gym. you should be stronger, you should be more powerful, you should be more athletic.

“Sure, the agility and the game sense and things will take time, but there are so many positives you can actually get out of it.

Menzel is now focussed on Geelong’s opening NAB Challenge clash with the Magpies on February 26 – 51 days from now.

“I would love to play as much of it as possible.

“I’m targeting the first game against Collingwood at Simonds Stadium, which will be great to be back up against Collingwood again.

“I’d love to play a couple of games in there. I don’t know whether most of our boys will play all three.

“If I can get two in there that’d be really good and put me in a good place to play Round 1.

Twitter: @tom_king79

Kevin Paisley Eyewear