Defeat opens draft door for Demons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Defeat opens draft door for Demons

By Guy Hand 30/08/2009 07:30:42 PM Comments (0)

It was the defeat Melbourne had to have.

For a second successive season of on-field AFL mediocrity, Melbourne won first choice of the two best under-18 players in Australia at the upcoming national draft.

The Demons couldn't afford anything else but a 47-point loss to St Kilda at the MCG on Sunday.

Managing no more than 16 premiership points for the second successive year unlocks a priority pick at the top of the draft - the last uncompromised draft before the AFL adds Gold Coast and a planned western Sydney franchise.

And against a team which has lost just twice this season, the Dees showed just the right amount of fight for just long enough to show better days are coming, yet ensure the No.1 and No.2 picks in November's draft would still be coming their way.

Allied to an already encouraging group of young players, Melbourne coach Dean Bailey is convinced there won't be a third successive wooden spoon on his watch.

"We've just got to get games of experience into as many as we can, then we're going to make a concerted effort to be a very good team for a very long period," Bailey said.

"The morale and spirit among the players has been outstanding the whole year.

"They've stuck at the task, everything we've challenged (them with) they've picked it up and run with it and I reckon that's a great platform for years to come.

"We've got a fair bit of growth to produce next year and in the coming years. There are exciting times ahead."

Top of the list is cult hero forward Liam Jurrah, who starred in Melbourne's excellent first half performance to lead the Saints for all but the last seconds.

Jurrah booted four goals for the match, plucked a remarkable one-handed mark running forward in the first quarter of just his ninth AFL game, and even had an impressive stint in the midfield.

"We haven't seen the best of him yet," Bailey said of Jurrah.

"What he's done has been pretty impressive and he's going to improve significantly on what he's done this year.

"He's got an ability to play anywhere I think and with a full pre-season he's going to be a dangerous player."

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