There was a hard-edged competitiveness and even a touch of swagger about Melbourne in their 33-point AFL win over Richmond at the MCG on Sunday night.
For the second week in succession, Paul Roos’ side plunged a struggling club’s season further into the mire.
Following on from last week’s win over Collingwood, the Demons didn’t take a backward step in a bruising encounter and scored back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011.
“Overall we’re a more physical team than what we have been,” Roos said.
That physicality boiled over into an all-in melee at quarter time and the swagger was typified by Tom Bugg, who pointed to the stands as he broke towards an open goal then shushed the nearby Richmond supporters after he converted.
Melbourne’s dash and dare were a delight to watch but the most pleasing aspect for Roos was the maturity and poise shown by his charges when the Tigers came at them.
Max Gawn was superb in the ruck, Jack Viney was a contested-ball beast, Jeff Garlett was lively all night with four goals and Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince, Nathan Jones and Jack Watts were all influential.
While Roos was happy with the spread of contributors, he believes the Demons can improve their mix between offence and defence.
“We’re probably still not quite getting the balance right – we’re up and down a bit bit but that’s the nature of when you’re trying to bring in an offensive game style in … you lose a bit of defence,” he said.
“I think we’ve got a lot of improvement in us. The balance is not quite there yet, but it’s a young team.
“We’re making mistakes and turning the ball over a bit but the ability to recover from those mistakes is something we probably haven’t seen the last couple of years.”