Demons seek third straight AFL win

Boasting a new-found sense of confidence and calm, Melbourne have a golden chance to record a third-straight AFL win.

It is not a big number.

But to a club that haven’t enjoyed such success since 2010 – or beaten their opponents St Kilda since 2006 – it is immense.

Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday will make it four wins from six rounds, the Demons’ best start to a season since 2005.

In five of the past eight seasons, Melbourne have totalled four or fewer wins.

“They’re more confident in each other, more confident in the coaching staff,” coach Paul Roos said on Friday.

“More confident in where the club’s heading and I think that’s what we saw (while beating Richmond) on the weekend.

“It doesn’t mean we’re not going to have some hiccups but it just means they can see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Selection meetings are starting to become a lot more challenging for Roos.

Christian Petracca, the No.2 draft pick from 2014, will debut on the weekend.

Angus Brayshaw was omitted, while fellow highly rated youngster Clayton Oliver was also asked to “knock the door down” in the reserves.

It is the sort of competition for places Roos hasn’t enjoyed since coaching Sydney.

“Internally, there’s the expectation, even amongst the players, that they really have to earn their spots,” Roos said.

“It is a bit of a changing philosophy.

“Because if we’re playing well, then you’re able to educate young players in the seconds, which I’m a firm believer of.

“I don’t think there is the reliance on the young kids (that there used to be).”

Veteran forward Chris Dawes, recovering from a recurring calf injury, is another example of the club’s depth.

Since leaving Collingwood in 2012, Dawes has generally been rushed back into the team.

“Because we’ve really desperately needed him,” Roos said.

“He’s delivered on occasions, particularly early when he’s been underdone.

“Now it’s time for Chris to look after himself and make sure he comes back in really good shape.”

The Saints were thumped by Greater Western Sydney in round five but Roos had instead studied their preceding three-point loss to Hawthorn.

“Their best is really, really good,” Roos said.

“Two weeks ago, Clarko (Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson) said – ‘look, they should have beaten Hawthorn’.”

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