David King has identified the player who he believes could be central to Melbourne’s chances of returning to the fold in 2020.
The Demons struggled into 17th last year having made the preliminary final in 2018 and coinciding with that fall from grace was the overall underperformance of Tom McDonald.
The 27-year-old forward booted 53 goals that year to help the Demons break a 12-year finals drought but could only manage 18 in 2019 as the club plummeted to all too familiar lows.
According to King, McDonald must return to his best this year if Simon Goodwin’s side are to shake off that disappointment.
“Tom McDonald is one at Melbourne who we don’t talk about a lot,” the North Melbourne great said on SEN Breakfast.
“15 games last year, 18 goals. But he kicked six of those 18 against Carlton in his last game.
“53 goals, 20 behinds in 2018.
“With no (Jesse) Hogan there anymore… He failed in 2019 but for me, he is one that if he has a big year it goes a long way to straightening Melbourne.”
In 2019, Melbourne’s goal kicking was topped by Christian Petracca with 22 – the lowest return of all 18 clubs – highlighting the need for a player like McDonald to fire up forward.
The Demons kick off their Marsh Community series campaign against Adelaide at Casey Fields on February 22.