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Demons new boy Lever brings edge: Goodwin

Melbourne Demons have turned the corner and want to be a tough, competitive and resilient AFL club — and Jake Lever can make that wish a reality.

Lever, the club’s boom backline recruit for this season, has adapted quickly to his new surroundings and coach Simon Goodwin believes the 21-year-old has brought a competitive edge to the Demons.

“He’s been terrific,” the second-year coach said.

“We certainly go about bringing quality, competitive people to our footy club and Jake’s shown that all summer.”

Despite hitting the ground running, the 2017 All-Australian team nominee’s only fault is perhaps that he cares too much.

Not that Goodwin minds.

“He’s hard to coach in drills because he’s so competitive that he stuffs a few (them) up, which is a great thing to have as a coach,” Goodwin said on Monday.

“He’s settled in really well, he’s got great leadership (qualities) and he wants to win.”

Melbourne lured the former Adelaide Crows young gun back to his home state of Victoria in one of the biggest moves of last year’s trade period.

But at a cost, as the Demons parted ways with two first-round draft selections and coughed up a multi-year deal rumoured to be in the region of $750,000 a year.

Given the rising star’s class and on-field leadership, Melbourne will be hoping to see a return on their investment and ending an 11-year finals drought would be a mighty start.

His inclusion in the defence will necessitate a semi-permanent move forward for defender-cum-goalkicker Tom McDonald, who had his magnate moved south to great effect last season to snag a career-high 23 majors.

“Tom will play forward,” Goodwin said.

“We sent him up (forward) about the middle of last year and also the start of this pre-season.

“We’re looking forward to seeing him and Jess (Hogan) and Pedo (Cameron Pederson) working together inside our forward 50 … and obviously with Sam Weideman there as well.”

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