An AFL grand final between Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney?
Demons coach Paul Roos says it’s possible, and could happen this decade in the brightest picture yet of the Demons’ evolution from AFL easybeats.
The F-word has been mentioned at the club as they prepare for Roos’ final campaign of three transformative seasons in charge.
Gone is talk of mental fragility and in its place comes a bold prediction that sweeps in their round one opponents, expansion side GWS Giants.
“In an ideal world you might see Melbourne playing the Giants for a premiership in the next three to five years,” Roos said on Monday.
“We think Gold Coast and the Giants have good young lists and we’re probably similar.
“There’s going to be a competition between Melbourne and the Giants and the Suns for a long period of time.
“It’s going to be great to see the Giants play Melbourne for the next ten years.”
Bracketing the oldest football club in the land with the two newest AFL entities is part of Roos’ strategy to sell hope.
It’s a sell-job that is working with his players.
Roos snapped his team to attention last year with talk of players “not being able to get over” their rotten decade.
A turnover of 30 players since Roos joined the Demons renders the club’s dark days almost meaningless.
“Probably for the first time we’ve stopped talking about that,” he said.
“It’s a thing of the past. It’s probably more now (about) cementing the game style and understanding it a bit more.
“Things will get bumpy during the year but the players are more confident in each other. They’re more confident in the coaches. The coaches are more confident in the players.
“I think the club realises its heading in the right direction.”
Finals have been part of that discussion.
“Aspirationally at some point you’ve got to start talking about (finals),” he said.
“Whether we’re there or not, that’s what the ladder is for.
“We’re still young, we’re still developing but we’re at a stage now where we can start to talk to our players about it.”
One player who won’t be lacing up for round one – and his AFL debut – is Christian Petracca.
In a separate interview with News Corp Australia, Roos revealed his frustration after the 2014 No.2 draft pick broke his toe playing basketball over Christmas.
“It’s put him out for six weeks and robbed the club of a player for round one,” he said.
“He had the hangdog look for a couple of days then bounced back. He looks like he’s learnt his lesson and maybe that’s a good thing.”