The rise and fall of the Melbourne Demons has been one of the most perplexing events to track in footy over the past three years.
The Melbourne Demons finished second last on the AFL ladder in 2019, amassing just five wins for the entire season.
If Round 1 is any indication, then season 2020 won’t be any different. When they played on the Sunday afternoon in Round 1 they already knew the AFL’s 2020 season was being postponed so that may have impacted them.
It was a difficult exercise to pick the ten players that the Demons could least afford to lose in season 2020.
10. Angus Brayshaw
He finished eighth in the 2019 Melbourne Demons best-and-fairest. Brayshaw featured in all 22 games and averaged the fourth most disposals with an average of 22.14 disposals per game. He needs to improve on his consistency if the Demons are to go up the ladder in season 2020, but he has the capability to do so.
9. Steven May
He will need to be at his best if the Melbourne Demons are to improve on their 2019 performance as May is a pivotal part of their back six when fit.
8. Oscar McDonald
He is a player capable of playing on the opposition’s key tall forward. McDonald was one of the Melbourne Demons’ best players in Round 1 of season 2020 and should be a permanent part of the Demons’ back six based on his Round 1 display.
7. Michael Hibberd
He is a player that is capable of creating run out of defence for the Melbourne Demons. Hibberd averaged 17.05 disposals in 19 games in 2019, which is a respectable average for someone who plays in the back six. Hibberd was one of the Demons’ best players in Round 1 of season 2020 when he amassed 21 disposals.
6. James Harmes
He finished fourth in the 2019 Melbourne Demons best-and-fairest. Harmes averaged the second most disposals of any Melbourne Demons player in 2019, averaging 24.5 disposals, and featuring in all 22 games that the Demons played in.
5. Christian Petracca
He was the Melbourne Demons’ leading goal-kicker in 2019 with 22 goals. Petracca finished fifth in the 2019 Demons best-and-fairest. He will be playing partly in the midfield in season 2020 if Round 1 is any indication. He amassed 24 disposals.
4. Jack Viney
He finished third in the 2019 Melbourne Demons best-and-fairest. Viney has been demoted from captain to vice-captain for season 2020. If Round 1 is any indication that should motivate him to play better as he amassed 34 disposals against the West Coast Eagles.
3. Clayton Oliver
He was the joint winner of the 2019 Melbourne Demons best-and-fairest. Oliver averaged 30.05 disposals per game in 2019, playing all 22 games. He is a quality player who will need to keep up the form that he displayed in 2019 if the Demons are to improve on their lowly 17th-place position on the AFL ladder that season.
2. Ed Langdon
It was an astute recruiting decision by the Melbourne Demons to recruit Ed Langdon from the Fremantle Dockers as he is a quality player. Langdon finished fifth in the 2019 Fremantle Dockers best-and-fairest. He averaged exactly 25 disposals per game, featuring in all of the 22 games that the Dockers played in 2019. In Round 1 of season 2020, Langdon was outstanding with 31 disposals, justifying the Demons’ move to recruit him.
1. Max Gawn
He was named on the interchange bench for the 2019 AFL All Australian team and was joint winner of the 2019 Melbourne Demons best-and-fairest with Clayton Oliver. AFL season 2020 will also be Gawn’s first season as captain of the Demons, which is a pivotal role at the footy club, especially at the Demons, who were languishing in the bottom part of the ladder in 2019.