Melbourne captain Nathan Jones has revealed a thorough review of a poor three weeks of footy played a crucial role in the Demons’ return to form on the weekend.
The Dees bounced back from three consecutive losses with a dominant 54-point win over Fremantle in Darwin, and with an eventual score of 13.24 (102) to the Dockers’ 7.6 (48), the margin could have been even greater.
Jones said that some close analysis of the club’s defensive struggles in their three-week slump was crucial to the speedy turnaround.
“There was some confronting vision, and periods where you would feel uncomfortable about what you’ve put out there on the ground,” he told SEN Mornings.
“The form over that period where we did lose three in a row was poor, and we’re really disappointed in it.
“Clearly, there’s been questions over our defence, so that was probably the core focus. Teams, particularly the better teams, have been able to open us up on their offence.”
The Dees had a staggering 50 more inside 50s than Freo, restricting the Dockers to just 28, and Jones says the superb effort is a sign the work during the week paid off.
“The result on the weekend, people will question it and say it was against a bottom-8 side, but fundamentally, the foundations of our actual game, we looked like a completely different team to what we saw over that three-week period with the way we defended,” he said.
“I think we got back to playing some promising footy, there were some better signs just with how our game style stacked up, and that was off the back of a really strong week of reviewing and ownership by the players to get ourselves back on track.”
Jones also praised the return of goalsneak Jeff Garlett, who laid six tackles in his first game in the seniors since Round 5 and provided the forward-50 pressure the Dees have lacked in recent weeks.
“The thing with Jeffy is getting him to really value that defensive side of the game. When he brings that pressure, when he stays involved in the contest and chases and tackles like we want, he actually creates himself more opportunities,” he said.
“Just having him down there, he’s such a dangerous presence when he brings that intensity to his game.
“It’s great to have him back in.”
The Dees, who sit sixth on the ladder, next take on the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on Saturday.
Listen to Nathan Jones’ chat on SEN Mornings with Kane Cornes in the player below