AS FORMER Demons skipper Hassa Mann recalls, games in the 1950s and '60s did not come much bigger than the Melbourne-Collingwood Queen's Birthday showdown at the MCG.

So it was appropriate members of the Demons' 1964 premiership team were on hand for the 2014 instalment of the rivalry, reuniting 50 years after the club's last premiership success.

The three-time premiership Demon and 2013 AFL Hall of Fame inductee described the feeling of catching up with his old teammates as a "fantastic" experience.

"I think the Queen's Birthday game, apart from the finals, was always the highlight of the season for Melbourne," Mann said.

The traditional rivalry was in full flight when the Demons won their sixth premiership in 10 seasons against the Magpies by four points in 1964, the final triumph of the golden era under legendary coach Norm Smith.

Mann joined Ron Barassi, Brian Dixon, Frank 'Bluey' Adams, John Lord and the rest of the team in posing for a photo alongside the statue of Smith prior to the game at the MCG on Monday.

"When you win a premiership you develop a really strong bond. And seeing some of them today it feels like yesterday," Mann said.

Members of the 1964 team had lunch with the current playing list after training at AAMI Park on Saturday, an opportunity Mann jumped at.

"I think there are encouraging signs that Melbourne is taking steps forward. It's very obvious that they're much more competitive under Paul Roos," Mann said. 

"There is a nice feeling of competitiveness and a smell of success. If they can get a scalp today (against Collingwood) their confidence would really rise and they would finish off the season very well."