Will the real Melbourne Demons please stand up?
After being on the outside looking in in recent years, the Dees have shocked nearly everyone by emerging to look as though they are close to being a lock for a top-four finish in the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
Paul Roos, former coach of the Dees, claims that much of the credit belongs to a player by the name of Daniel Cross, to which we said, “Who?”
It is just five years removed from 2013, when Melbourne could win only two games all season. Roos and Cross both arrived for the 2014 season, a time where Roos admitted that the club’s strongest attribute was the frank admission of where they were at, while the senior list had, to use Roos’ word, been “scarred” by being belted so often and so badly.
Cross came across to join the Dees for 39 games in 2014 and 2015 after playing 210 for the Western Bulldogs. Even though he was winding down, he managed to supply the sort of veteran perspective that he was able to pass along to the others, telling them that the club was headed in the right direction.
Roos also had praise for another veteran, Bernie Vince, who left the Adelaide Crows following the 2013 season and is still lending his steadying hand to the Dees.
“I think getting Bernie Vince and Daniel Cross — two experienced players — don’t underestimate their importance,” Roos said on Fox Footy’s On The Couch.
In 2014, the Dees “improved” to 4 – 18. They climbed to 13th in 2015, winning seven games, losing 15. The following season, 2016, they continued to progress, making it to 11th on the back of 10 wins against 12 defeats and in 2017, they finished in ninth with 12 wins and 10 losses, tied with West Coast, but out of the finals by half a percentage point.
Ten Rounds of the current season finds them in third, chasing only the Richmond Tigers and the Eagles.