The rest of Melbourne’s season will be a pre-pre-season, with Paul Roos putting underperforming players on notice.
Paul Roos has declared the final three weeks of the season will be like an AFL “pre-pre-season” as he looks towards 2015.
The Demons earned plaudits earlier in the season for a new combative style that earnt four wins in the first 12 games.
Coming from a nightmare season in 2013 with just two victories and a percentage of 54, these were heady days.
But much of the goodwill Roos earnt this year has been erased in performances since their round 13 win over Essendon, with seven straight losses.
The nadir was a shocking loss to Brisbane in round 19, which Roos described as deplorable.
It’s clear that some players are on notice, and Roos is using the last three rounds to shape next season’s playing list.
“If you can’t play at the level required then you can’t play AFL footy, it doesn’t matter which club you’re at,” Roos said.
“If you don’t think players can get to that level, then you’re silly hanging on to them.”
Melbourne’s last three matches are against the GWS Giants at the MCG, West Coast (Patersons Stadium) and North Melbourne (Etihad).
Roos said even if he wanted to, a mass cull of players would be impossible.
“It’s always a balance because you’ve got to have a certain number of players on your list,” he said.
“You can’t make radical changes because of contracts.
“We made some changes last year and we’ll make some changes again.”
One player Roos chose to defend was No.1 draft pick Jack Watts, after club great David Schwarz called on the 23-year-old to be traded.
Roos said the bar was set very highly for top draft picks, and Watts suffered as a result.
“It comes with the territory, the expectations,” Roos said.
“If you’re the No.1 draft pick I don’t think you ever get left alone to play your game, work on your craft.
“We treat Jack the same as every single other player, we don’t treat him as a No.1 draft pick.”