Melbourne have the opportunity to score back-to-back wins in the same season for the first time since 2011 when they take on Richmond at the MCG on Sunday night.
Last year the Demons recorded wins to rid themselves of similar unwanted hoodoos like their 22-game losing streak at Etihad Stadium and 11-match winless runs against Collingwood and Geelong.
While such victories might be tangible signs of improvement for long-suffering fans, assistant coach Jade Rawlings says getting the back-to-back monkey off their backs has had no place in Melbourne’s preparation.
“To be a good footy team you’ve got to be able to string wins together, that’s what we focus on … it’s got nothing to do with hoodoos or what we haven’t been able to do in the past,” Rawlings told AAP.
“Being a good footy team week after week is our primary focus … if we can attack Richmond aware of their strengths while playing to our strengths then results will take care of themselves.”
All too often Paul Roos has been left to lament the maddening gulf between his side’s best and worst football from one week to the next.
But, in another sign of progress, a strong performance that fell agonisingly short against North Melbourne was followed up by an impressive win against the Pies last week.
“Effort isn’t something that we discuss much internally any more because it’s what we demand of our team each time we go out,” Rawlings said.
“We’ve got strong expectations of our players on what our game should look like each week.”
The Demons regained Bernie Vince and Jeff Garlett from suspension and injury respectively, while boom youngster Clayton Oliver was rested and Matt Jones is out with general soreness.
Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric, Jake Batchelor, Anthony Miles and Steven Morris were all added to Richmond’s lineup.
Having been beaten by Melbourne in their last two clashes, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is well aware of the challenge in front of his team as they attempt to get their 1-3 season rolling in the right direction.
“In their game last week versus Collingwood their first quarter was electrifying,” Hardwick said.
“They’ve recruited really well, they’ve brought a number of ball winners into their club and they’ve got some really good potent key forwards.”