Melbourne coach Paul Roos says the 110-point loss to Hawthorn shows the Demons have to go through steps before they will improve.
Reigning premiers Hawthorn have handed Paul Roos’ Melbourne a 110-point AFL reality check.
After an upset win over Richmond and a competitive loss to Geelong, the Demons were shown the yawning gap between them and the best.
The Hawks closed out their impressive pre-season by belting Melbourne on Saturday in warm and windy conditions at Casey Fields 21.16 (142) to 4.8 (32).
It follows their 131-point walkover against Brisbane and the 65-point win over North Melbourne.
There has been plenty of hype about Roos taking over as Melbourne coach, but Saturday showed the reality.
“Certainly the club is in much better shape, but … you can’t go from the (last) rung of the ladder to the 10th without having to go through steps,” Roos said.
“We know where we’re at, but it’s probably more for the football public that gets carried away with (pre-season).
“You’ve seen the premiers play against the team that won two games last year and that’s the difference.”
It’s proving a rugged weekend for the Demons, with news that star youngster Jesse Hogan has a stress reaction in his back.
“He’s now obviously match fit so, depending on how quickly it settles down, you might see him playing in two weeks – it might be three weeks,” Roos said.
“With a young player like that, you have to make sure there’s no long-term problems – which I’m led to believe there aren’t.
“I think that’s why they have ‘indefinite’ – it’s more that you have to wait for the reaction of the body and see how it recovers.”
Roos said a major problem for Melbourne in the past few years was that players had retained their places in the senior team, despite such big losses.
“That’s probably the line in the sand now, that that’s not going to happen any longer,” he said.
Key defender James Frawley was crunched in a marking contest during the last term. But the Demons are confident he was not hurt seriously.
While Hawthorn have hit their premiership defence at full speed, they have two potential problems.
Defender Ben Stratton left the field in the third term with hamstring soreness and midfielder Jordan Lewis could attract match review panel scrutiny for a collision with Nathan Jones in the first term.
Jones briefly left the field after the Lewis incident, but played out the game.
Lewis was high among Hawthorn’s best, while Coleman Medallist Jarryd Roughead kicked six goals and Sam Mitchell also starred.
Hawthorn and Melbourne’s round-one games are on Saturday, March 22.
The Hawks play Brisbane in Launceston and the Demons face St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.