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Is Watts the answer to Melbourne's midfield?

Paul Roos lays down some ground rules at his first training session with Melbourne - ${keywords}
Paul Roos lays down some ground rules at his first training session with Melbourne
Jack, with the ball in hand, is very good. He's a really good decision maker and he's really smart
Paul Roos on Jack Watts




MELBOURNE hopes Jack Watts can become its answer to Fremantle's new breed of big midfielders.

With Watts, 22, having had limited success as a key forward, rebounding defender or wingman under previous coaches, new Demons boss Paul Roos has planned another reinvention for the 2009 No.1 draft pick.

Roos said this year's grand finalists Hawthorn and Fremantle set the benchmarks in many areas.

One is the atypical height of the Dockers' talented core midfield group - Nathan Fyfe (190cm), David Mundy (192cm) and Michael Barlow (189cm).

Roos said having tried to trade in similar types, the Demons realised they might already have one in 196cm Watts.

"One of the things that a lot of teams lack, and we're included, is just some big midfielders," Roos told reporters on Wednesday.

"Jack, I really liked when I watched (video of Melbourne) games over the last two weeks.

"Ball in hand he's very very good.

"He's a very good decision-maker, he's really smart, so that's something we really want to do.

"We think if he can get in there, with his size and speed and overall strength and his ability to use the ball, we think that will be a positive.

"And we need more midfielders."

However Dom Tyson, the big-bodied midfielder extracted from Greater Western Sydney during last month's trade period was missing in action when the Demons' first to four year players started their pre-season campaign under Roos on Wednesday.

Tyson pinged a hamstring last week and while the injury is not serious, the Demons will give him plenty of time to get himself right, given his injury problems in his two years with the Giants, and setbacks to other key recruits in the past two years including Mitch Clark and Chris Dawes.

Otherwise, there was cautious excitement as the 2005 Sydney Swans premiership coach grabbed his whistle and got to work. And one of his first tasks is to temper excitement about emerging key forward Jesse Hogan, who kicked 39 goals in 15 VFL games this year and becomes eligible to play for the Demons in 2014.

Roos has spent the past fortnight watching tapes of Melbourne from this year, but has yet to get around to reviewing the VFL footage.

"To be honest, I haven't actually seen him [Hogan] play, so I'm hoping he's as good as everyone's says he is," Roos said at AAMI Park on Wednesday.

"From my point of view, my first thing with Jesse is to get him through the preseason and train him really hard. He's a really good young kid but he wants to earn his place in the team, not be given it because he's a high draft pick or a player with really high expectations. So that's the first step. "

Roos intends to use the rest of 2013 as an exercise in getting to know the players and for the players to get to know him and the mainly new coaching staff.

"It's about building relationships with the players and not bombarding them with gameplans," he said. "We'll start to implement the gameplan at a camp in the start of December and prior to Christmas." 

He will enter 2014 without the hand-picked coaching heir apparent that was part of the arrangement when he first accepted the Melbourne job.

Roos said the plan to bring Swans’ assistant coach Stuart Dew to Melbourne was foiled not because of any issues with the Swans, but because of Dew’s decision to stay in Sydney for family reasons.

Melbourne will continue to identify his long-term successor and Roos encouraged those with an interest in the job to come forward, saying the large number of assistant coaches who had become gun shy after missing out on senior vacancies had become a football-wide issue. 

Roos refused to discuss the issue of any bad blood between himself and his former club, saying his focus was now squarely on the Demons.

"I'm Melbourne coach and I have moved on. I don’t have a problem with anyone at the club (the Swans) and I enjoyed my time there but I'm now part of the Melbourne footy club."