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Demons won't 'hang' Watts for dropped marks: McDonald

Jack Watts of the Demons is tackled by Ricky Henderson of the Crows during the 2015 AFL Round 03 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Melbourne Demons at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on April 18, 2015. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)
The Demons will back Jack Watts to bounce back after a couple of disappointing marking efforts against Adelaide
He had a couple of efforts that probably weren't his best but we're not going to hang a bloke for having one or two bad efforts
Tom McDonald on Jack Watts

JACK Watts might polarise opinion in the footy community but his teammates won't "hang" him for dropping two uncontested marks during the loss to Adelaide, defender Tom McDonald says.

McDonald has leapt to the defence of his under-fire teammate and also backed the controversial tagging tactics Bernie Vince used to shut down Patrick Dangerfield.

He said Watts had been unfairly criticised for two fumbles, which coughed up a goal and bit into the Demons' hard-fought quarter-time lead. 

The former No.1 draft pick was openly mocked on-field by Crows captain Taylor Walker after the mistakes.

But with the Demons gearing up for a high-profile Anzac Day eve clash with Richmond, McDonald said it was harsh to judge Watts on two poor efforts.

"He's a polarising figure, Jack. Yeah, he had a couple of efforts that probably weren't his best but we're not going to hang a bloke for having one or two bad efforts," he said.

"Everyone makes mistakes and doesn't do things perfectly in a game. Jack will bounce back, I'm pretty sure.

"He's pretty confident he'll have a good game on Friday night and everything's forgotten when you start playing well. 

"I'm not worried for Jack, I think he's been a really good player for us."

Vince has been the other Demon in the spotlight after he pushed the boundaries with his physicality against Dangerfield.

Crows coach Phil Walsh weighed in after the match, saying Vince's actions weren't tough, but McDonald praised his teammate for shutting down the Adelaide champion. 

WATCH: Vince v Dangerfield, no love lost

"I loved it. I thought Bernie's game was outstanding. I don't think he crossed any lines," McDonald said. 

"As a backman I'm trying to get in a forward's head and I'm trying to be physical. 

"He kept him to 14 or 15 touches and he's a superstar, Dangerfield. So I thought he did a great job.

"(Coach Paul Roos') biggest message is team first and a selfless attitude. Bernie was a good example of that on the weekend.

"So I think for those younger guys who are looking to get a game, playing in the VFL and playing really well, that was perfect for them to see how he went about it." 

On-field issues aside, this weekend's match will have added significance for both clubs. 

Before the match, AFL and Melbourne legend Ron Barassi – whose father, Ron snr, died in Tobruk in 1941 – will light a flame that will burn throughout the game to commemorate those who served during wartime. 

The Demons and Tigers lost a combined 35 players during the two World Wars, and the clubs shared Punt Road Oval as their home ground during the Second World War while the armed forces occupied the MCG. 

Melbourne's best and fairest trophies are also named after five players lost due to war.

"It's really a big part of our history and we just want to pay tribute to them at the game at the weekend," McDonald said.

"Any Friday night (game) is a big occasion and this weekend's even more so that we get the opportunity to pay tribute to people who have gone to war and served for Australia."