Absent defenders may be the answer for diehard Demons

It’s worth noting what the injuries to Lever and May have denied the Demons during this period of growth that began at the end of 2012 with the rebuilding of the list under a new recruiting regime that has added Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw, Sam Weideman and Christian Salem.

The pair have played 12 games between them, having cost Melbourne pick six, 10 and 15 in an aggressive trading spree designed to fill gaps in the talented young list, as well as locking up about 10 percent of their salary cap.

Making his way back for the Demons: Steven May.Credit:AAP

The injection their arrival was supposed to provide – combined with injuries to Neville Jetta and Michael Hibberd – has left Melbourne scratching for replacements in the back half with Oscar McDonald, Jay Lockhart, Sam Frost, Josh Wagner, Bailey Fristch, Christian Salem and Marty Hore making up their back seven this round.

Of that group only Salem is a top-10 selection and while the others have battled hard they have been found out at times in group one class.

The May-Lever inclusion will allow Melbourne to regain some of the momentum lost between September and May giving the Demons the sort of boost Darcy Moore, Jamie Elliott, Andrew Gaff and Brad Sheppard have given to the grand final combatants so far this season.


Frost or McDonald will need to play well to cement a role they are more capable of playing and the midfield’s defensive coverage will improve a team that entered the round having conceded more points this year than any other team bar North Melbourne and Carlton.

The Demons were able to land Lever and May after years of good drafting to complement their list rather than continuing to build from below, giving away the talented Jesse Hogan and preferring ready made talent to have an impact now than the potential players they could have added during the draft.

That is a strategy yet to pay dividends.

A win against the Giants will give Demons supporters some hope for 2019 but the real focus should be directed at what Lever and May can add to a team that has all the tools bar a defensive pair of guns.

What Melbourne does in the back half of the season with that duo will be a much better indication of their premiership hopes in this era than anything we’ve seen in the first nine rounds.


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