Despite two losses with a margin totalling 159 points, including giving Greater Western Sydney their first win of the AFL season, Melbourne Demons coach Neil Craig says they’re approaching their clash with Gold Coast with optimism.
The Demons travel to Metricon Stadium to meet the Suns on Saturday night, continuing their battle with GWS to avoid the wooden spoon.
They will do so without star forward Chris Dawes who has failed to overcome a calf injury.
Given a 122-point hiding by North Melbourne, interim coach Craig said there were enough signs in their 37-point loss to the Giants to suggest they could challenge the rising Suns.
Bookmakers don’t agree, rating Demons a $6.25 chance of victory.
“The North Melbourne performance was really poor, one of the most disappointing losses for the year,” Craig said.
“The GWS one needs to be kept in perspective.
“It’s more the fact that GWS is two years of age as a club and hadn’t won a game but in reality, the playing groups in terms of their profiles are not dissimilar.
“I was more disappointed with the North game.”
Craig pointed to statistics like his side still being in the game at three-quarter time, solid contested ball and stoppage work and improved ball movement as positive signs.
He lamented their costly unforced error count and inability to challenge GWS in the final term.
“Some of the football that GWS has played is very, very good.
“It’s disrespectful to GWS to say no-one should beat you.”
Craig said it was important for players to continue to give their all until the final round of the competition.
“We need to play the season right out irrespective of scoreboard or circumstance and that’s the path we will go down.
“We’re not interested in people who are putting the cue in the rack.”
The Demons are considering giving young tall defender Troy Davis his AFL debut after some consistent performances in the VFL.
Craig still hadn’t made a decision about whether he wanted to apply for the role on a permanent basis.
He said he was still waiting to see if he fulfilled the yet-to-be announced criteria of coach that the Demons board was looking for.