Demons right to go, says Bailey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons right to go, says Bailey

By Roger Vaughan 18/03/2011 07:21:02 PM Comments (0)

Setting aside a mediocre pre-season, Melbourne coach Dean Bailey is talking up his team's AFL prospects ahead of round one.

Bailey dismissed Thursday's poll of AFL captains, where none of the other 16 skippers thought the Demons would make the top eight.

It is a massive year for Melbourne, with Bailey in the last year of his contract and strong expectations that it is time for them to push for the top eight.

He said the playing list was in good shape for the season opener against Sydney and is confident rising star Jack Trengove (ankle) will be available.

"We should be confident in approaching round one," Bailey said.

"We should be looking forward to round one against whoever we're playing, because our players should be ready to go."

After Sydney, the Demons play Hawthorn, Gold Coast and Brisbane before their first bye.

Cale Morton (hand) will not be ready for round one, while Jordy McKenzie (groin) and James Frawley (shoulder) are also unlikely starters.

"'Chipper' (Frawley) will probably kill me if I say it, but he's probably less likely to play round one," Bailey said.

"If `Chipper' and Cale were sitting here next to me, they'd be really pushing for round one, as all players do ... Morts is probably a bit touch and go for round two."

Asked about Melbourne's complete lack of top-eight appeal among rival captains, Bailey shrugged off the unwelcome prediction.

"We were one of a few, weren't we?," he said.

Bailey said a big focus throughout the pre-season was restricting opposition scoring chances.

He added it would take a few rounds before the impact of the controversial new interchange rule became clear.

"Our great challenge, just going over NAB Cup games, is we certainly placed a lot of focus on trying to reduce the number of opposition inside 50s against us," he said.

"Even in a couple of games over the NAB Cup, they've been a bit too high against us.

"But with the sub rule coming in ... it's going to be a really interesting first three or four weeks before we can get a trend in what all clubs are doing."

Buoying Melbourne's spirits, they had a rare training run on the MCG ahead of their Friday night club season launch at the ground.

The MCG is usually unavailable for club training.

"As a footy club and as a group of player and, I've got to be a bit selfish, as a coach to get out on the MCG before the season starts and run around and have a kick, it's fantastic.

"I'm probably a little bit too excited to get out there.

"This is our home ground, we're a section of the MCC, so we'd like to think that relationship would see us have that advantage at home."

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