Nathan Jones at Melbourne pre-seaosn training in December
The feeling among the group is that we're in a much better place
NATHAN Jones says the additions to Melbourne's midfield group could not have been more impressive in the period before Christmas but they can't be expected to "carry the brunt of the load" in 2013.
The Demons recruited Jimmy Toumpas with pick No.4, used pick No.27 to acquire father-son recruit Jack Viney and added the mature aged Matt Jones and youngster Dean Kent with later selections to bolster its midfield.
Jones said the midfield was an area of the team that obviously needed to improve and he was excited about what he had seen of the arrivals.
"They are going to come in and add some real class," Jones said.
"They will eventually catch up in dealing with the rigours of the game and eventually will be the staple of the midfield."
Jones, 24, knows that it is not easy to step straight into the AFL and perform consistently at a high standard. He had been a solid performer for six seasons before he had a breakout year in 2012, easily winning the club best and fairest and gaining 14 Brownlow votes.
He puts his improvement down to the confidence the new coaching staff showed in him, which gave him the belief to drive himself harder.
Jones put in an enormous amount of work in order to take another step forward. The results of the extra work became obvious as the year unfolded.
Keen to reset for a big 2013, Jones is repeating his preparation while making sure he pays attention to details in order to continually improve.
"What happened in 2012 happened," Jones said.
"I'm just keen to try to back that up and go to another level. The best players in the competition are consistent over a long period of time, so that is my aim: to try to repeat and obviously improve on what I did last year."
Jones says the club continues to make progress in relation to its training standards and the expectations of the coaches continue to rise but he understands the extent of the work ahead.
"Whether or not that [improvement] is reflected in on-field performance is still to be seen," Jones said.
"But the feeling among the group is that we're in a much better place than we have been before and are pretty confident in the direction we are headed."
Jones is refreshed and is looking forward to watching what the Demons' youngsters can do as they begin their AFL careers: "They are going to be good players for the football club and I think they will have an immediate impact."