They’re not in holiday mode yet but Melbourne coach Paul Roos has declared the Demons 2016 AFL season a success.
A first win over Hawthorn, or any defending premier, in a decade and the re-signings of brothers Tom and Oscar McDonald has Roos delighted with progress at the AFL club.
Like a painter looking back at a canvas, Roos is reflecting on his three years at the club ahead of his final three weeks at the helm.
From two wins in 2013, the Demons have nine this year – their best return since 2006.
The McDonalds are the latest in a long line of re-contracted youngsters, with Jack Viney (signed until 2020), Jack Watts (2019), Jeff Garlett (2019), Clayton Oliver (2019), Jayden Hunt (2018) and James Harmes (2018) among those to re-sign this year.
So while it’s not mission accomplished just yet, it’s close enough for Roos.
“It’s not finished. Let’s be really clear on that. But absolutely (it’s been a successful year) … there’s been enormous strides,” he said on Thursday.
“The coaching group have done a fantastic job. Goody and all his assistants have been outstanding.
“The players are learning, are getting better.”
“The body of work we’ve put in has been really significant.
“To get from two wins to nine and the percentage over 100 with three games to go has been a terrific effort.”
And what’s more, the Demons aren’t giving up on finals just yet.
Should North Melbourne lose to Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon, Melbourne will take the field against Port Adelaide on Saturday night knowing a win will keep alive an improbable finals berth.
North would still need to lose every game, and the Demons have to win their last three while making up a chunk of percentage.
St Kilda would also need to lose at least one of their matches.
And perhaps that’s why Roos wasn’t keen to make a big deal of sneaking into eighth place.
“I’ve never been one to worry too much about that,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do on our game.
“We’ve won two in a row now … if things fall your way that’s great.”
Roos said he was “not too sure” whether there would be any more re-signings before year’s end, with flag-winning forward Chris Dawes and former Demon captains Jack Trengove and Jack Grimes without a deal to play in 2017.
But he was always confident Tom McDonald’s future was at Melbourne.
“It probably dragged out a little bit longer than we thought. That’s not a big deal. It’s done now,” he said.
“If you can get a good centre half-back, centre half-forward, it’s really, really important.”
Roos said Jesse Hogan would be fit to face Port Adelaide but first-gamer Sam Weideman might not be able to back up with a corked thigh.