MELBOURNE’S new-look forward line can apply the kind of scoreboard pressure the Demons have lacked for so long, Jack Watts says.
Even with Chris Dawes suspended for the first-up meeting with Gold Coast, the Demons beat the Suns by 26 points and reached the 100-point mark for the first time since round 14, 2013.
Watts booted three of Melbourne's 17 goals, to go along with 17 disposals as he put together one of the most complete performances of his highly scrutinised career.
It was far from a one-man show. Debutant Jesse Hogan also joined in to kick two goals of his own and, along with Sam Frost, showed an ability to create a contest which in turn allowed speedy forwards Jeff Garlett, Jay Kennedy-Harris and Dean Kent to shine.
The performance of Hogan - who finally played his first game for the club after overcoming a lingering back issue that sidelined him for much of 2014 - brought a smile to Watts' face in what was a jubilant Melbourne changerooms post-game.
"I love him," Watts told AFL.com.au. "Everyone does. He's a big animal and when I get the ball and look up to see him in a one-on-one contest I've got full confidence to kick it to him.
"So going forward it should be a bit of fun I think."
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Watts, the No.1 pick in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, was originally drafted as a key forward but after a tough few years playing deep in attack, he has found more success playing in roles further up the ground where he can use his athleticism and skills to hurt the opposition.
The recently turned 24-year-old said being able to pinch-hit as a key tall gave him plenty of confidence as he looks to continue to improve under the guidance of coach Paul Roos.
With 96 AFL games now under his belt, Watts feels an increased level of assuredness in his own ability.
"Playing as a key forward is probably not my natural role but I can fill in there when the team needs it and with ‘Dawesy’ back next week I'll hopefully move around the ground a bit and then rest forward when I need to," Watts said.
"For me having ‘Hoges’ and ‘Frosty’ up there, taking two gorillas, allowed me to play as that third tall.
"My body type isn't probably suited to taking on [Suns opponents] (Rory) Thompson or (Sam) May or someone like that in a contest but I can hold my own and it's given me a lot of confidence for this year definitely."