Jones to lead AFL Demons in 2016

An on-field leadership revolution is underway at Melbourne, just not at the top with Nathan Jones re-appointed as captain of the foundation AFL club.

In what Paul Roos agreed was a “no brainer” decision, Jones will captain the club for a third year next season.

But new faces are likely to join Jones in the leadership team in 2017, with Jones nominating Jack Viney and Tom McDonald.

A decision on the full leadership team is unlikely to come until late in the pre-season cup because Roos wants to see strong on-field performances.

“It will be open,” he said.

“We want to open it up to game day because clearly that’s an area where we really need to keep improving.”

In 2015, Jones led a leadership group consisting of vice-captain Lynden Dunn, Jack Grimes, Daniel Cross, Chris Dawes and Heritier Lumumba.

Next season, Jones said there would be “greater expectations” on the emerging Demons, including McDonald and 21-year-old Viney.

Key defender McDonald, 23, showed his ability to play at both ends of the ground in 2015.

Viney, son of former Dees captain Todd, continued his progression into a fine midfielder in 2015 despite enduring a broken leg.

In retaining the captaincy, Jones said the announcement felt like a formality but he still recognised the honour.

“I was hoping to get another opportunity … it gives me great confidence that the club’s in a comfortable place,” Jones said.

Roos said the continuation of Jones as captain helped stabilise the club, just as chief executive Peter Jackson’s decision to re-sign last month did.

He said the decision to keep Jones at the coin toss was simple.

“Nathan has developed into a fantastic captain,” Roos said.

“To see the evolution of Nathan now into a selfless player, really driving the team and driving the standards, has been a pleasure to watch.

“It’s great to have a captain to drive your message, understand your message.”

Jones said he was not far away from a return to full training after neck surgery in September.

“There was some nervous times, I debated whether or not to (get the surgery), with my wife heaps,” he said.

“I was very grateful a couple of weeks later when I noticed a significant difference with the nerve pain.”

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