Hungry Dees want AFL redemption: Lewis

Nov 29, 2017 - 1:55 AM Melbourne veteran Jordan Lewis didn't need to say it - his young teammates knew they'd blown a golden opportunity.

The Demons were playing scintillating footy, the type that looked certain to end their decade-long AFL finals drought and had pundits talking up their premiership credentials.

Then the wheels fell off.

Jack Viney and Jesse Hogan suffered injuries, on-field discipline problems piled up, and the Dees lost five of their last nine games to finish outside the top eight on percentage.

Lewis arrived at Melbourne at the end of 2016 well aware of what it took to reach the summit after winning four premierships at Hawthorn.

But if the 31-year-old felt the need to impart any nuggets of advice, he largely kept it to himself.

"I didn't need to be too vocal because you could see the hurt in the players," Lewis told reporters on Wednesday.

"Sometimes that's what it takes. It takes a little bit of hurt in the off-season and then to come back even hungrier, and I think that's the way the players have approached it.

"You have to have a few lean years to actually put the hard work in and get the reward, and I think they've put in the right attitude."

The sheer talent on the Demons list suggests Lewis has good reason to believe success remains within reach.

Hogan, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Jayden Hunt and Angus Brayshaw are all aged under 23.

So is prized recruit Jake Lever, whose off-season trade should provide a huge boost to the Demons' backline.

Lewis has trained alongside Lever in the backline group in a sign he could be redeployed from his customary midfield role.

Former teammates Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge eventually drifted from the midfield to half-back roles but Lewis was unsure whether that would be replicated by coach Simon Goodwin.

"I think one of the gaps maybe last year was a little bit of leadership down back," Lewis said.

"We had a really young backline.

"That's not to say that I'll play there next year but certainly throughout the pre-season I'll train the majority of my time in the backline."

Source: AAP

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