FORMER No.1 draft pick Jack Watts is finally getting the reward and recognition he deserves, Melbourne coach Paul Roos says.
Watts was the hero in the Demon's two-point victory over Gold Coast on Sunday at the MCG.
The 25-year-old, who has been much maligned by the Melbourne faithful over his career, kicked the final goal of the game with two-and-a-half minutes remaining to put the Demons in front.
But his heroics didn't stop there.
Ninety seconds later, Watts found himself at the other end of the ground, taking a game-saving mark in the goal square after Suns forward Tom Lynch kicked a long bomb from the 50m line.
Watts finished the game with 18 disposals and kicked 3.2 in a brilliant performance, earning plenty of praise from his coach.
"I thought he was the player that looked like he was going to break the game open," Roos said after the win.
"In the end it was a great reward for him to kick the winning goal and I think it was indicative of his game today. He was the standout player for us, certainly with ball in hand, and his game was exceptional."
It has been a challenging eight years at Melbourne for Watts who has carried a weight of expectation after being selected at pick one in the 2008 draft.
After years of moving from one position to another, Watts has been more settled in playing the majority of his football up forward in 2016, and it has shown in his performances.
He has kicked 34 goals this season, his best ever tally, and is averaging a career high six marks per game.
But more importantly the recently re-signed Demon is finally playing with more freedom and confidence.
Roos, who has just four more games left to coach in his Demons career, said he was proud to have witnessed Watts' growth.
"In terms of where he's come from and the criticism he's got, he's finally getting the recognition," Roos said.
"It's great to see him enjoying his footy, it's great to see him with a smile on his face, it's great to see people rewarding him for the positives he brings to the footy team.
"I love Jack, he's one of the best people I've met in footy, and to see him get the reward is really exciting."
The win against the Suns was the Demons eighth for the year, and one more than they recorded last season.
The last time Melbourne won eight games in a season was 2011.
Despite the scrappy affair, Roos said the victory was more significant than a 10-goal win.
The Demons now have just six days before they face reigning premier Hawthorn on Saturday at the MCG.
Key forward Jesse Hogan is in doubt after bruising his left knee on a behind post when he slid in to take a mark in the second term.
He managed to play out the game, but struggled for most of the day with the injury and will be monitored throughout the week.