Shepparton News

Delighted and excited Hore targets return

- By Josh Huntly

Hours before the first bounce of the AFL grand final, Leitchvill­e’s Marty Hore was riding the wave of emotion with his Melbourne teammates in the build-up to the hallowed September fixture.

When the final siren sounded, Hore stormed the field with the rest of Melbourne’s off-field contingent as the club broke its 57-year premiershi­p hoodoo in emphatic fashion.

He will join celebratio­ns in earnest to celebrate the 74-point win over the Bulldogs, well-deserved after putting in the hard yards in his return from an ACL injury sustained in January — one that ended his season before it even began.

In 2020, it was a quad tendon ripped off the bone that kept him off the park.

The year before, his debut season, he strung together 14 games after joining the Dees, earning plaudits as a potential 200-game veteran by experience­d teammate Michael Hibberd.

An uninterrup­ted run may well have had Hore running out onto Optus Stadium on Saturday.

Right now, that’s not something that’s crossed his mind — he’s just excited to see his mates lift the premiershi­p silverware.

“I don’t know if it’s sunk in for many of the boys yet,” Hore said.

“From kicking the ball around as a kid, everyone dreams of playing on grand final day."

Pre-game, he predicted the resurgent Dees to bring home the f lag after many pundits had “written us off”, and said their star ruckman would be a man on a rampage.

“A lot of people had written us off," Hore said.

‘‘The club’s come a long way since I joined.

“Big Maxy (Gawn)... he was like a man possessed, all he wanted to do was win that flag for the footy club.”

On his return from injury, Hore said he’d progressed “ahead of schedule”, crediting the world class rehab unit at Melbourne for his hasty return to the track.

With the season now concluded, Hore reflected on a ‘‘rollercoas­ter’’ three seasons with the newly-anointed premiers, and his determinat­ion to roll up to day one of pre-season fit and firing.

“The fitness department here are world class and we have got some really good people on the rehab side of things,” he said.

“They’ve done a tremendous job.

“It is a slow process and it takes a while for that graft to heal, but I have been going really well getting a lot of strength work back into it.

“It’s been a bit of a rollercoas­ter. Obviously I got to play 14 games and then had some bad luck over the last few years with some funny sorts of injuries.

“It’s been tough. But I’ve been in the real world, I’ve been on the tools and I’m pretty fortunate from my side of things with what I’m involved with at the moment and how lucky I am to do my dream job.

“I want nothing more than to be able to show the club that I can play AFL footy and that I can stand up to it; I’ve just got to get the body right.

“Hopefully that time comes when I can reward them for sticking by me like they have.”

Uncontract­ed at the end of the season, the promising defender is hopeful of continuing his stint with the Melbourne Football Club and rejoining the club’s renowned backline unit.

“I’d still love to be on a list and keep the dream alive to play AFL footy,” he said.

“It’s a really exciting time at the club.”

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Back on track: Marty Hore on the burst during his debut season in 2019.
Picture: AAP Back on track: Marty Hore on the burst during his debut season in 2019.

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