Melbourne is still a destination club despite many AFL free agents seeking immediate finals action, says coach Paul Roos.
Roos said the recent signings of free agents Bernie Vince, Heritier Lumumba and Daniel Cross showed 15th-placed Melbourne remained an inviting prospect.
“The message we get from managers is that, absolutely, they can see where we are going as a club, they can see the young kids we’re assembling,” said Roos.
But he said the system remained skewed to benefit the top teams and welcomed acknowledgment from the players’ association that tinkering was needed.
“The age bracket they’re at, they generally go to clubs that they think they can play finals,” he said.
“Yes, we’re a destination club but clearly that bottom group doesn’t seem to be able to attract the key free agents as the top group does.”
Roos said that Melbourne were “not a team that has much of a margin for error” and needed all 22 players making contributions in their match with Collingwood this Saturday.
Melbourne haven’t beaten Collingwood since 2007 but, with the Magpies on a five-match losing streak, the Demons have one of their best chances.
Collingwood will also be without key forward Travis Cloke, who kicked seven goals against the Demons earlier in the year.
But Roos is cautious about whether Cloke’s absence helps his team.
“Sometimes it can be a positive for (them),” he said.
“We saw Hawthorn lose Buddy Franklin two years ago and they’ve become a much better team.
“It just means they play slightly different but it doesn’t mean they have less talent through their midfield or through their team.”
He said Melbourne remained wary of the Magpies given “it is not hard to find some really good Collingwood football” amongst its recent losses.