Former Dee Jordan Lewis says the pre-season camp was one of the toughest things he’s ever endured. Picture: AFL Media/Getty Images
Former Dee Jordan Lewis says the pre-season camp was one of the toughest things he’s ever endured. Picture: AFL Media/Getty Images

Lewis lifts lid on ‘brutal’ camp that caused Dee player revolt

The Melbourne playing group made headlines in 2017 when it came together and told the club it wanted to abandon a commando-style pre-season camp that former player Jordan Lewis has described as "the hardest thing I've ever had to do" in footy.

The retired four-time premiership star has lifted the lid on the camp that left two Melbourne players injured and pushed the rest to breaking point.

 

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"To give you a snapshot, we get to the club we are out on the oval we do three hours of push-ups and sit-ups and crunches," Lewis said on Fox Footy Live.

"From there we quickly jumped on a bus to Elwood. From Elwood to Port Melbourne, we wade in the water with bricks and logs and get out and roll around in the sand.

"We knew it was going for two nights, three days. We get on this bus and we go to Mt Disappointment.

"Well, there was never a more appropriate name for a mountain.

"For the next two days it tested us mentally.

"There were points where I was like 'I've been in successful teams before and we haven't really done this'."

 

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Christian Salem suffered a head injury during the camp. Picture: Getty Images
Christian Salem suffered a head injury during the camp. Picture: Getty Images

 

 

During the camp, defender Christian Salem dropped bricks from a pack he was carrying on his head, knocking himself out, while former Dee Dom Tyson injured his knee.

"(After the Salem injury) everyone's trying to work out 'how do I knock myself out so I can actually get off this camp and go home'," Lewis said.

"I remember Max Gawn drove me home, but we stopped off at Huxtaburger on the way and we sat there, we didn't say a word to each other and we just devoured food.

"I had two large Huxtaburger meals and two milkshakes and then I slept for the next 18 hours."

 

 

 

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The Demons had planned to run the camp again, but the players contacted the AFLPA to put a stop to it, earning scorn from ex-players at the time.

"It was brutal. People, for whatever reason, didn't want to revisit that the year after," Lewis said.

"Players get together and say 'we don't necessarily want to do it', then you go to the AFLPA and then they liaise with the club and the players to sort out how best to go about it.

"I was in the leadership group at the time and I could understand their point, the biggest question was, it was seriously hard, but how does it benefit your football?

"As a player, you want to know how this will translate into me playing better football."

 

 

Lewis, pictured in his first pre-season at Hawthorn.
Lewis, pictured in his first pre-season at Hawthorn.

 

The combative Lewis revealed a run-in he had at Hawthorn in his first week in the AFL that earnt him the respect of veteran hard man Richard Vandenberg.

"We were playing a handball game and Richie Vandenberg had been overly aggressive … so, when it came for my turn, we had a bit of a tussle, and this is my first week at the club and you're going up against the future captain of the football club," he said.

"I remember walking off the ground and a few people pulled me aside and said 'you can't talk to a senior player like that' and I said 'well what do you expect me to do, just sit there and cop it?'

"Richie and I got on like a house on fire from there, because we both had that mutual respect."

 

 

Originally published as Lewis lifts lid on 'brutal' camp that caused Dee player revolt

Some early argy-bargy impressed hard man Richie Vandenberg.
Some early argy-bargy impressed hard man Richie Vandenberg.

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