What’s the reward for knocking off the AFL premiers for the first time in a decade?
“A couple of quiet beers and enjoying the moment for 24 hours,” says Melbourne captain Nathan Jones.
The buzz – and any hangovers – from the Demons’ stirring win over Hawthorn on Saturday might have worn off but Jones hopes there are longer-lasting benefits from their 29-point upset.
After all, this wasn’t any old win.
Not since 2006 had the Demons beaten Hawthorn.
And not since that same year had Melbourne beaten the premiers from the previous year.
Not a single player in Paul Roos’ team had achieved either feat in Melbourne jumper.
Long-time servant Jones has had to wait 220 matches to do it.
He hopes the younger players can take plenty out of the drought-breaking success.
“It was a huge step in the right direction and probably a pretty significant one on our journey,” he said on Monday.
“It’s very promising.”
For Roos, there was a different reward.
“To see the smile on Nathan Jones’ face, Jack Watts, the guys that have toiled so long without much reward,” he told radio station 3AW.
Jones says two things will round off the Demons’ best season in a decade.
The first is sustaining the momentum into 2017 during season-ending matches with Port Adelaide, Carlton and Geelong.
“Coming off two wins in the row (we’ve got) to try and drive our performances for the rest of the season,” he said.
“We’ve got three games left and a lot can be achieved in time to propel us forward for the short-term and the long-term.”
The second is keeping the band together, and signing up the club’s highest-profile out-of-contract pair Tom and Oscar McDonald.
Jones said he envisioned their signatures on new deals sooner rather than later.
“I don’t have any worries (Tom) won’t re-sign,” he said.
“He’s just going through and doing his due diligence as the club would be.
“I’d expect something to be announced hopefully in the short term.
“Both Tom and Oscar are key players for us and it showed on the weekend, with them playing well they could form the key figures in our back line for the next eight or ten years.”