Demons reap the rewards of AFL’s long rebuilding | Canberra weather


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Melbourne defender Christian Salem said a full buy-in combined with a focus on fun helped the club reach AFL’s threshold of glory. The Demons will aim to end their 57-year flag drought when they face the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on September 25. Melbourne missed the final for 11 consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2017. Their journey to the preliminary final in 2018 – which ended in a brutal 66-point loss to the West Coast – was followed by an unexpected drop in 17th place in 2019 and ninth place last year. Salem, who was trapped with the No.9 pick in the 2013 domestic draft, arrived in Melbourne at the same time as head coach Paul Roos, who responded to an SOS to save the club from years of mediocrity. Roos helped lay the groundwork, and current coach Simon Goodwin made the group a candidate for prime minister. “I arrived in Roosy’s freshman year. It was pretty much the start of the rebuilding,” Salem said. “There were some dark times, I won’t lie. But we always had full confidence in the direction we were going, and we knew it would take time.” It’s just an honor for the whole club. We really accepted, especially in the last few years, and we were able to translate it into performance on the pitch. Salem said full club membership has been crucial. A series of meetings during the pre-season “We were quite disappointed with how the season ended last year,” said Salem on a campaign in which the Demons missed out on a win to reach the final. “For us, we were tired of floating here and there. “We went over the summer and worked hard on our game, and to be honest it was just a full buy-in.” It was a small change for us, and for everyone to buy into the journey in which we are now is pretty amazing. “Salem is not surprised by Melbourne’s rapid rise from ninth place to the top finalists this year. The mood at the Demons has been noticeably more sustained this year, and Salem said that was another crucial factor for the success of the team. “At the end of the day you have to have a good time, you have to have fun,” he said. “It’s a tough industry we’re in. at the same time, you have to put things in perspective and try to get fun and positive points out of them and have a good time. Australian Associated Press


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