Goodwin not yet embracing AFL finals

The f-word is still a dirty one at Melbourne, even if the Demons are on the brink of ending a decade of AFL pain without finals.

A win over Collingwood on Saturday would lock in Melbourne as finals participants for the first time since 2006.

That’s 11 years, seven Demons coaches and scores of players ago.

Co-captain Nathan Jones is the only member of Melbourne’s list to have played in September wearing navy and red.

With a strong percentage and 12 wins already banked in 2017, the Demons could yet make the finals even with a loss.

That’s not enough for Goodwin to countenance the drought-breaking finals campaign.

“It’s really important for us as a footy club to focus on this weekend’s game. We haven’t achieved anything yet,” he said on Thursday.

“We can’t look any further as a football club.

“I can understand it. It’s really exciting for our supporters that we’re in this position.

“But as a football club, a football department and a football team we’ve got to focus on this week.

“Where we sit at the end of round 23 is the most important thing … I’m not going to deal in hypotheticals.”

The refusal to cast forward extends to co-captain Jack Viney and his foot injury.

Goodwin has ruled him out of the Magpies game and declined to give a longer-term prognosis on the 23-year-old on-baller.

Tom Bugg is also unlikely to return even though his six-week suspension has expired.

“He’s missed a lot of footy though, he’s had six weeks out,” Goodwin said.

“He’s got to build some trust with the coaches and the players (and) he’s gone about that six weeks incredibly well.

“He’s only just got back playing so he’s got a bit of work to do before he really is a serious contention for AFL footy.”

Goodwin suggested Jack Watts might return this weekend after two weeks in the VFL.

“Clearly there’s a lot of hysteria around Jack and how he’s performing. He’s improving,” the first-year coach said.

“His two games at VFL level have shown us that he’s progressing and he’s performing now at the level that we think it appropriate. We’re looking forward to seeing him play his best footy shortly.”

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