Beating Dockers boosts Demons: McDonald - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Beating Dockers boosts Demons: McDonald

05/05/2008 03:40:01 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne's breakthrough win on Sunday will provide a vital shot in the arm for the club's young players who have never before tasted victory at AFL level, according to midfielder James McDonald.

McDonald said the remarkable comeback against Fremantle was vital for the confidence of players such as first-year forwards Austin Wonaeamirri and Cale Morton.

Melbourne's two-time reigning best and fairest winner admitted it had been difficult to maintain optimism as the club slumped to a 0-6 record.

"It would be pretty hard for those young blokes - even Col Garland, this is his second year and that was his first win for the team," he said.

"It just gives them a bit of belief that they can play at that level and they're up to the standard.

"It would have been pretty tough for Austin and Cale Morton and a few of those young blokes coming in in their first season and not getting a win under their belt.

"That will lift their confidence."

Wonaeamirri, a 19-year-old Tiwi Islander who made his debut in round three, and Aaron Davey, generated a flamboyant forward initiative which kept the Demons afloat during a tense final quarter.

McDonald described Wonaeamirri, who kicked four goals, as "amazing".

"Just his attitude, from when he first walked in the door," he said.

"He's been leading the team in forward pressure and putting defensive stuff on.

"He's only 19 and played five or six games and he's just a great kid.

"He's very respectful and just loves playing footy and loves kicking a goal as you saw yesterday."

McDonald said that at half-time, with the side down by 50 points, players still felt they had a chance to turn the match.

Melbourne overcame the biggest half-time deficit in its history and the second biggest in league history.

"The boys were all pretty positive in the first half - we came in at half-time and everyone for some reason still had a good belief in each other," McDonald said.

"Everyone was pretty vocal at half-time and (thought) we if we just kept chipping away it would eventually turn.

"I think we fixed a few things up - we were over-using the ball in the first half and we got that balance right between kicking and handballing and all of a sudden we got on a bit of a roll."

Melbourne's challenge now is to maintain its positive focus through this week's break, which he said could be "a good thing and a bad thing."

"We might have just found a bit of momentum and now we've got the break so hopefully we can work the right balance out and just keep working hard on the track," said McDonald.

"But going into the break mentally it's a good thing for us to give us a bit of belief.

"We have to sit down and reassess our goals and hopefully we can learn from the weekend that maybe we have turned the corner."

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