There hasn’t been much love for Melbourne’s unheralded defence this week but coach Paul Roos says they can get the job done against Sydney’s Lance Franklin-led attack.
Melbourne are riding high going into Sunday’s AFL clash with the Swans at the SCG after their Queen’s Birthday thumping of Collingwood.
The Magpies and coach Nathan Buckley were widely panned for their performance in the 58-point defeat, which Roos felt did a disservice to his emerging team.
“Watching how Collingwood and Nathan got criticised … it probably took away from how well we played, I thought,” Roos said on Friday.
“We’ve got to make it clear to our players not to get caught up in external noise.
“Probably, we were a bit disappointed at all the talk about Collingwood. Our defenders were really good; they brought the ball to ground; (but) they’re going to have to be better this week.”
In-form Franklin, who leads the Coleman Medal race with 43 goals, looms as the danger man but Roos says the Swans have plenty of avenues to goal.
Tom McDonald, Franklin’s likely opponent, has struggled to replicate the form that resulted in him finishing third in last year’s best-and-fairest count.
But the key defender, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has been the subject of trade speculation, was among his side’s best players against Collingwood.
“I felt on the weekend he was very good … it was probably his best game of the season,” Roos said.
“(He’s) the only one who knows how much he’s thinking about his contract.
“All I can say is that his game at the weekend was very good and I hope he continues that form for the rest of the season.”
Roos named an unchanged line-up for the clash, while Sydney made four changes.
Toby Nankervis, Aliir Aliir, George Hewett and Dean Towers come in to replace Kurt Tippett (hamstring), Jeremy Laidler (knee), Harry Cunningham (omitted) and Harry Marsh (hamstring).