Nick Riewoldt has come out saying that he is not yet ready to anoint the Melbourne Demons, because they have had a relatively soft fixture in the first 10 Rounds of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
The irony of a former Saint demurring on the prospects of the Demons was initially lost on us, but by the end of that first sentence, we had the revelation.
If nothing us, the AFL team names do provide us with an almost inexhaustible supply of similes.
One might think that the 91-point murder of the Crows, last year’s losing Grand Finalists, might earn dispensation from St. Nick, but he wants to see the Dees play top four and top eight teams for an extended period before he will offer his blessing.
Looking at the Dees upcoming fixture, it is hard to see much in the way of opposition and Melbourne did not make the schedule, nor do they have any control over the fact that what would have been stiff tests last season appear more likely stumbling blocks this go. What has transpired during the first 10 Rounds would tend to make one think that the Dees that meet the Geelong Cats in Round 18, to whom they lost narrowly in the first Round, could easily reverse the outcome, given that the parting meow of Gary Ablett has provided a Cats team lacking claws.
“I still want to see them do it against a really quality opposition and sustain it, because they did this at the end of last year,” Riewoldt said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
The Dees will play the Pies on the big stage in Round 12, but that game does not seem to present any major threat, other than the risk of complacency.
Complacency is seldom an issue for a team on the rise, as the Dees have been over the past several years of the competition. The biggest tests on the horizon seem to be the South Australian sides and a Round 22 game with the soaring West Coast Eagles.