Demons must respond against ‘Dons: Roos

Melbourne are the bookmakers’ favourites for their clash against Essendon but Paul Roos isn’t sure why.

The Bombers are coming off a 110-point thrashing by St Kilda and have just lost inspirational skipper Jobe Watson for the season but the Demons’ heavy loss to West Coast last week doesn’t exactly inspire confidence ahead of Saturday’s encounter at the MCG either.

“Where this club’s been – we just lost by 54 points ourselves – so we need to respond from our performance last week,” Roos told the club’s website on Thursday.

“Clearly over the course of the journey … we got beaten by 100-something points by Hawthorn (this season), so we’ve had our fair share (of thrashings).

“I don’t know whether their backs are closer to the wall than ours.”

Injury-ravaged Essendon will be trying to avoid a sixth straight loss when they take on Melbourne.

Watson joins a host of players – including Jake Carlisle, Tom Bellchambers and Travis Colyer – sidelined for extended periods as the Bombers try to arrest their freefall.

Boom youngster Angus Brayshaw and veteran Heritier Lumumba have been cleared to return for the Demons.

Despite last week’s fade out against the Eagles, improving Melbourne have already equalled last season’s tally of four wins.

“Our football’s better but it was frustrating that we dropped off last week because our month’s been pretty solid,” Roos said.

“The message to our guys is we’ve got to play hard for longer.

“It’s starting to happen but the sooner it happens more consistently the quicker we get better.”

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