Melbourne skipper Nathan Jones says Sunday’s upset AFL win over the Western Bulldogs is a sign of how far the Demons have come under coach Paul Roos.
Melbourne went into the match on the back of successive heavy losses to Fremantle, Sydney and Hawthorn, which Jones said would have significantly damaged the team’s confidence in previous years.
“I think there’s some real resilience there now – this is a different Melbourne team,” Jones said.
“In the past it probably would have affected us pretty significantly but credit to the boys we bounced back and our confidence grew as the game wore on.”
Jones said Roos’ decision not to review the 105-point drubbing at the hands of the Hawks had been a key factor in the side’s ability to take a positive mindset into the clash against the Bulldogs.
Former Demons’ coach Neale Daniher also addressed the playing group during the week and Jones said the players couldn’t help but be inspired by his battle against motor neurone disease.
“It’s unbelievable to see his resilience in the fight that he faces,” he said.
“There’s no cure and he understands that at some stage he’s going to pass away but his fight and his hunger to make a difference is significant. “He’s really passionate about the Melbourne footy club and he wants to see us do well again. I think the boys got a real lift out of it – it was hard not to when you see his passion.”
Jones said the losses to the Dockers, Swans and Hawks clearly showed his side still has a long way to go, but he’s confident they’re closing the gap between their best and worst football.
The Demons haven’t recorded back-to-back wins since round 14, 2011, and Jones highlighted the importance of building on the performance against the Dogs when they take on Port Adelaide in Alice Springs on Saturday.
“We understand the talent that they’ve got and the quality of footy that they can play but we’ll really be focused on backing up that performance,” he said. “If we can play the footy we know we can we’ll be in with a chance.”