Mel­bourne Demons

Inside Sport - - Team Previews -

It’s a mark of chang­ing ex­pec­ta­tions for the Demons that its pre­sea­son pro­gram be­came an ob­ject of scru­tiny. The club had to shelve a spe­cial forces-style train­ing camp af­ter play­ers voiced con­cern to their as­so­ci­a­tion, with el­e­ments of the me­dia talk­ing of mutiny. Coach Si­mon Good­win had an early spot fire to douse: “Two days in a camp isn’t go­ing to de­fine the Mel­bourne footy club and it cer­tainly won’t de­fine how we go this year.”

If the Dees don’t play fi­nals, ex­pect this sub­ject to come up. The fans are rest­less af­ter fall­ing tan­ta­lis­ingly short last year, mak­ing it 11 straight post­sea­sons ab­sent. But Mel­bourne did im­prove its record for the fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son, and hav­ing bridged the side­line tran­si­tion from Paul Roos to Good­win, has the hon­est-to-good­ness look of a fi­nals side.

The young tal­ent – Chris­tian Pe­tracca, Clay­ton Oliver (right), Jesse Ho­gan – cer­tainly ex­cites, and 21-yearold prized re­cruit Jake Lever joins their ranks. Jor­dan Lewis and Michael Hib­berd added needed savvy, and should be bet­ter for year two at the club. And if they can get a clean bill of health this year for key for­ward Ho­gan and ruck­man Max Gawn, there won’t be any com­plain­ing about what kind of work Mel­bourne did in pre­sea­son.

Im­prob­a­ble sce­nario: Bull­dogs … Tigers … Demons? It has been 54 years.

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