Demons, ‘Roos aim for AFL consistency

Melbourne and North Melbourne will go into Sunday’s AFL match with different priorities, but the same problem.

The Kangaroos have won their last four games and are on the way to cementing an elimination final berth, while the Demons are improving and aim to end the season strongly.

Their fans will go to the MCG wondering which of their teams will turn up.

Will it be the ‘Roos who have won their last four, or the side whose season was on the brink after the round-14 shocker against Gold Coast?

Likewise, Melbourne were as outstanding last week in the upset win over Collingwood as they were woeful the previous match against St Kilda.

“There were real inconsistencies from Brisbane (which they also won) to St Kilda and then St Kilda to Collingwood,” said Demons assistant coach Jade Rawlings.

“They’re things we’re looking to iron out and that’s why we feel there’s so much to be achieved in these last five weeks of the season.”

Rawlings added the last month showed there was no doubt about the challenge the Kangaroos would present.

“We see them having won four games in a row,” he said.

“They had their season on the line after the Gold Coast game and they’ve responded.

“You can pull it apart all you like – four wins in a row means you’re in reasonable nick.

“We have a pretty good gauge of what North Melbourne are capable of doing when they’re at their best and that’s our challenge.”

One of the features of Melbourne’s win over Collingwood was superb work in defence, with the Magpies restricted to seven goals.

Since the loss to the Suns, North have scored freely and if they can be restricted in attack, the Demons will be in the hunt for another big scalp.

“Despite conceding a lot of inside 50s … there weren’t many times when Collingwood transitioned the ball from one end of the ground to the other,” Rawlings said.

“When they did, it really stood out.

“It didn’t happen very often because of how we were positioned further up the ground, the speed with which the forwards and the mids were able to defend when Collingwood had it.

“Our backs have been a pretty consistent group … they played a good, solid game.

“But the defensive reflection is more on the whole team, rather than just the backline.”

Melbourne made one change, bringing in Matt Jones for Aaron Vandenberg (ankle).

Robin Nahas, Lachie Hansen and Aaron Mullett will return for the ‘Roos.

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