Developing Dees can’t afford to get ahead of themselves

Beartorius Roar Rookie

By , Beartorius is a Roar Rookie

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    The Melbourne Demons are finally in the news for the right reasons, after knocking off reigning premiers the Western Bulldogs in emphatic fashion at a once-cursed venue, Etihad Stadium.

    The Demons currently boast a 3-1 win-loss record at the Docklands this season, after going 3-30 in their previous 11 seasons combined.

    Their current form sees them sitting in fifth spot, a place they haven’t seen since 2006, however in this tight 2017 season, a two-game margin between 5th and 15th does not offer the safest ladder security.

    Their 57-point thrashing of the Bulldogs combined with a 41-point victory on the road against the ladder-leading Crows has prompted many in the media to ask the question, ‘Why can’t they go all the way?’

    But the focus for this young Demons outfit must be maintaining their current form, rather than allowing themselves to be caught up in the hype from the media that surrounds them.

    After going 5-2 without a key ruckman, the Demons’ will add All-Australian Max Gawn for the first time since he suffered a hamstring injury in round three. While their star forward Jesse Hogan remains sidelined until July after recently undergoing surgery for testicular cancer.

    Max Gawn Bernie Vince Alex Neal-Bullen Melbourne Demons AFL 2015

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    The talent is certainly there for the Demons to make noise in September, however it wasn’t until their twelfth game of the season, when they managed to put together a four-quarter performance.

    A team whose best is worthy of a top four finish, yet their worst would safely miss the eight, the Demons must be able to find consistency in their performances, and end more ‘hoodoos’ if they want their fans watching them play in September, rather than going skiing.

    The Demons’ upcoming schedule features all-too-familiar hoodoos, as they look to beat West Coast in Perth for the first time since 2002, then defeat the Swans the following week for the first time since 2010.

    Melbourne, a team that often stumbles after an impressive victory, will need to ignore the talk from the media, who are treating this season as it were like any other.

    After 12 matches in 2016, Hawthorn (9-3) were in fifth position, three games clear of falling out of the eight.

    However, a year later, the Demons currently own fifth position, yet are only one game clear of dropping out of the eight.

    Fifth spot on the ladder in 2017 no longer offers the sense of security it once did, and those quick to label the Demons the ‘Bulldogs of 2017’ and the Demons themselves, must realise that.

    The future is bright for the third-youngest team in the AFL, but in this historically even season, the Demons can’t allow themselves to focus too far ahead, which they so often do.

    Although beating teams like the Crows and the Bulldogs on the road and without a ruckman, this young outfit is still prone to inconsistent losses to 17th placed Hawthorn, and a sixteenth consecutive loss against 16th-placed North Melbourne, a hoodoo they’ll have another shot at ending in round nineteen.

    No one could have predicted the season we’ve had so far, so for people to label the Demons as premiership contenders is nonsensical.

    The Demons would need to relive Geelong’s 2007 heroics, and become the first team since then to win a premiership after not making the eight the year before.

    Of course, in this evenly poised season there is every chance the Demons could prove a point in September, but it is also possible that the Demons’ inconsistent form comes back to bite them, and they find themselves unable to return to finals, and break their 11-year drought, making it essential that the Demons and publicity surrounding them focus on the now, rather than already dreaming about September.

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