COMPETITORS only should apply at Melbourne says Demons hard-nut Jack Viney as the club continues to build a foundation for success.
The rampaging Viney was considered, by no less a judge than Paul Roos, as Melbourne's best player over four quarters in his 50th game for the club, as they finished on top of the Giants by two points at the MCG.
The 21-year-old had 10 disposals at quarter-time, double that number by half-time, and finished the game with 32 disposals, 14 of them contested.
Throw in six tackles and he clearly continued the form that earned him runner-up in the club's best and fairest last season despite missing six matches.
Viney is a natural-born competitor but suddenly he finds teammates surrounding him made of similar stuff.
"We're trying to recruit competitors and we are a team of competitors and that is coming out in the way we want to play," Viney told AFL.com.au.
"That is what we are building our footy club on and achieving results."
Clayton Oliver looks set to become a partner-in-crime for Viney for years to come while trade targets Ben Kennedy (from Collingwood) and Tomas Bugg (from Greater Western Sydney) are prepared to put their heads right over the ball.
Add Jesse Hogan, who arrived in the same year Viney was selected under the father-son rule, and the more refined but no less desperate Tom McDonald – who took it up to Viney in a recent scratch match – and there are some young fighters at the club.
"We've been building for a few years now [and] probably haven't seen the results that we would have liked, but I guess that just comes with a rebuild," Viney said.
The renowned tackler has become a smarter footballer too in recent seasons.
He had no problems with the umpire paying a free kick against him in the second quarter for a dangerous tackle on the Giants' Jack Steele, although he thought he was a little unlucky.
"I thought I might have been a little bit stiff because I didn't really change direction or spin him around or anything," Viney said.
"It was kind of the one direction, but I do understand where they are coming from. Player safety is really important and we don't want to see anyone get hurt."
Viney said he still feels like he's in his first season at times despite chalking up the 50-game milestone.
But his words show that as a collective Melbourne is beginning to think like good teams think, able to stay in the moment and look forward even when things aren't going to plan.
"We were really struggling for three quarters but the boys really believed in what we were trying to do. They wanted to stick with it and not let all that hard work for pre-season to be for nothing, so we dug deep," Viney said.
"[We] try to get into our system [of play] as quickly as possible and whether it is the first quarter, second, third or fourth, that is just what we're trying to do. We know that when we get into it we are a pretty good footy team."