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Demon's journey to redemption continues

Tom Bugg took out the Demons' 2km time trial on Monday - AFL,Melbourne Demons,Tomas Bugg
Tom Bugg took out the Demons' 2km time trial on Monday

MELBOURNE forward Tom Bugg's journey to redemption continued on Monday when he won the Demons' post-Christmas 2km time trial at Gosch's Paddock.

The 24-year-old relegated usual time-trial king Tom McDonald, who underwent surgery on both ankles after the 2017 season, and Alex Neal-Bullen to the minor placings. 

Bugg's punch that knocked out Sydney's Callum Mills early in the clubs' round 15 match last year saw him instantly go from antagonist to 'villain' – and cost him a six-match suspension.

He contacted Mills to apologise, and returned from the ban in the VFL and was unable to break back into Melbourne's senior line-up.

Almost three months later, on the PlayersVoice website, Bugg outlined his regret at the incident and revealed the vicious external response since. 

"I've been called selfish, a thug, a dog, every name under the sun," Bugg wrote in September last year. 

"It hurts, but I know I have to wear it. And I know it's up to me to change it." 

Demons coach Simon Goodwin condemned Bugg's lack of discipline at the time and rang Swans coach John Longmire to apologise on the team's behalf.

But Goodwin, as part of a player-by-player appraisal on the club's website, said last week Bugg was regaining the form that saw him play 10 of his 93 matches in 2017.

"Tom has been working closely with the forwards," Goodwin said.

"He's showing some of the form that he had during the middle of 2017 – when he played every game from rounds six to 15 – in his training, which is encouraging.

"After playing 65 matches for GWS, Tom has added 28 AFL games since he arrived at the end of the 2015 season. He will be looking to build on that in 2018."

 

Bugg also attracted attention for an Instagram post featuring ex-teammate Jack Watts that targeted his friend and Western Bulldog Jason Johannisen with the words "You ready?" before their clash. 

The post raised Goodwin's ire, with the coach telling reporters "we want to be a club that's respectful and humble in the way we go about our business". 

Bugg served as a defensive forward for Melbourne last year, kicking 7.12 and averaging 13.9 disposals, five score involvements and 3.1 tackles.