Billy's hoping to have a long stretch with the Demons
BILLY Stretch had always jumped at the opportunity to be involved with the Melbourne Football Club.
His dad, Steven, played 164 game for the Demons (1986-93), and despite growing up in Adelaide, blue and red blood always flowed through Billy's veins.
He would often go down to the Melbourne clubrooms at Football Park when the side was in town.
He also spent a week with the club when he was in Year 9 doing work experience, staying in Melbourne with the Viney family.
"I did a lot of little jobs around the club, but got to do a little bit of training too,” Stretch recalled to Australian Regional Media.
He was back with the Demons a few years later when a member of the AFL-AIS squad.
"As part of that process you spend a week at an AFL club and I got to come back to the club with Angus Brayshaw,” he said.
"We got to experience the life of an AFL footballer for a week. That was another good opportunity to put our best foot forward and get drafted
"It's awesome to be now playing for them.”
It was of course no surprise the Demons in turn jumped at the chance to welcome him back as a father-son recruit in 2014.
He was always an outstanding junior, his game built on his incredible running capacity. Suffice to say he's a pure wingman, just like his old man was.
Though he's seen "plenty of footage” of Steve, his style of play has been based more so on that of Chris Judd.
"I'm working quite hard on the contested game. I want to be confident in a contest,” the 22-gamer explained. "And then be able to use my speed and strength on the outside.”
Being the son of a gun, 20-year-old Stretch said he has never felt any pressure to live up to expectations.
"But I know I've got to keep working on my game and keep chipping away,” he said.
"I want to be a really good player and hopefully I'm on my way to doing that.”
Stretch also wants to be a part of a Melbourne side that finds consistency and makes its long-awaited return to finals. His dad played 13.
"That is the challenge for us ... to try and bridge the gap between our best and our worst, play a consistent four quarters every week,” he said.
The Demons host Gold Coast at the MCG on Sunday in a game they should win, but are wary of the visitors.
"We prepare for any team's best and we know the Gold Coast is capable of playing some really good footy,” he said.