The Melbourne Demons appear to have wrapped up all the most important business of their 2019 AFL Trade Period after making two deals on Friday.
The Melbourne Demons horrific start to the 2012 AFL season is a result of poor recruiting decisions over the past five years and its weak development of players.
After another disappointing loss to the Western Bulldogs on the weekend, Melbourne is now zero and four and sits at the bottom of AFL ladder, along with Gold Coast and GWS.
In a year which was promised so much, the Demons now look like they will endure a bleak and embarrassing journey.
But why are the Demons so poor when other young sides like Richmond, Port Adelaide and Brisbane are all starting to make inroads and continue to show improvement.
It comes down to two things.
Firstly the Melbourne football department, over the past five to 10 years, have made some very poor recruiting decisions. This is starting to become very visible when you compare them to other sides.
The club has continued to recruit players whose skills levels do not match-up to other players in the competition and who have not developed into superstar players.
They have continued to pick the wrong sort of player, time and time again.
These poor decisions are now really starting to become evident as other young players from other clubs become game breakers and superstars.
The question needs to be asked what did Melbourne see in their recent top draft picks, such as Jack Watts, Tom Scully and Jack Trengrove, that other top draft picks in those same drafts, such as Nick Naitanui and Dustin Martin, did not have.
Naitanui and Martin have developed into genuine superstars of the AFL while Watts and Trengrove have not nearly developed as quickly.
Which brings me to my second point; why haven’t Melbourne’s recent top draft picks developed into these elite players.
Why have players picked after Watts in the 2008 draft, such as Michael Hurley, Chris Yarran and Steele Sidebottom, developed into match winners and consistent footballers while Watts continues to struggle?
It is becoming clear that Melbourne must not have a strong enough development program in place to create superstars and push these young players to show their full potential.
Would players such as Trengrove, Watts, James Frawley, Cale Morton and Jack Grimes be genuine superstars of the competition if they were drafted by a different club?
Most likely yes.
In my opinion, Melbourne needs to get back to the basics and start making some smart decisions when recruiting players and introduce a quality development program.
Such structures will give Melbourne’s youngsters the best chance they can to become elite players of the competition.
While this may be a sad reality for this great club, and the thousands of fans who follow it, hopefully Mark Neeld and the new football department can get these programs in place so that Melbourne can re-establish itself as a powerhouse of the AFL.
Hang in there, Demon fans.