Favoured Demons out to live up to AFL hype

Resurgent AFL club Melbourne can keep clearing hoodoos off their to-do lists on Saturday against St Kilda.

After ending a 22-match losing streak on their last visit to Etihad Stadium, the Demons finally won back-to-back matches last week by knocking off Collingwood and Richmond within seven days.

Now it’s time to beat the Saints and to do it as favourites.

The Demons’ woes against St Kilda are well-known, with the last time Melbourne defeated the Saints, it was deemed a sackable offence.

Grant Thomas was given his marching orders after the 2006 elimination final, the last time Melbourne triumphed in a clash of the AFL’s religiously-monikered outfits.

More recently, the Demons have struggled to put wins on the board when they’re favoured to do it.

Historical TAB Sportsbet odds show that Melbourne have won just once under Paul Roos when they’ve been framed by bookmakers as favourites.

A 12-point loss to wooden spoon fancies Essendon in round 2 was the most recent let-down and gun midfielder Jack Viney is keen to ensure it’s the last.

“The Essendon game was a bit of a learning curve and we understand we can’t drop our guard for a second,” he said.

“We know our best football is up there with the best in the competition but when we don’t bring it anyone can beat us.”

Viney has started the season in fantastic form, crashing through the 30-possession barrier in each of Melbourne’s three wins.

Against Richmond he was a clear best-on with 23 contested touches, nine clearances and nine tackles.

He’s among the early-season leaders in AFL-wide player of the year awards but the 22-year-old says he needs to keep it up through to September.

“I’m going OK at the moment. I still feel like I’ve got a lot improvement to make,” he said.

“I don’t feel like I’m going to be able to dish up those performances every week at the moment.

“Consistency is what I’m really trying to achieve.”

MELBOURNE AS FAVOURITES UNDER PAUL ROOS

2014

R1 – St Kilda (Etihad) – lost by 17

R19 – Brisbane (Etihad) – lost by 23

2015

R15 – Essendon (MCG) – lost by 9

R16 – Brisbane (MCG) – won by 24

R17 – St Kilda (MCG) – lost by 37

R21 – Carlton (MCG) – lost by 23

2016

R2 – Essendon (MCG) – lost by 13 points

R6 – St Kilda (Etihad) – ?

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