Main content

Barrett: Dees should relieve Jack of captaincy

Jack Trengove of the Demons looks dejected after a loss in the 2013 AFL round 06 match between the Carlton Blues and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on May 05, 2013. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Jack Trengove no longer looks like a young man happy with life, says Damian Barrett
THROUGH an event out of its control, Melbourne Football Club lost one of its captains on the weekend.

Jack Grimes’ brittle body once again broke, a damaged shoulder to keep him out of football until near the end of this already demoralising season for the Demons.

Melbourne now needs to take control of the situations surrounding its other skipper, Jack Trengove.

It must act in his best interests and remove the burden of leadership from his requirements before the weight of it hits him to a degree where damage could be permanent.

Trengove is so out of high-end footy touch at the moment that he doesn’t have the scope to deal with being captain of a team which lacks direction at every facet of its structure.

No matter how one looks at it, the Grimes-Trengove co-captaincy of Melbourne has not worked.

That is not criticism of the two young players. But it is of those at the club who allowed such a decision to be made at the start of the 2012 season.

Trengove played a full quota 22 matches last year, but could only manage eighth place in the best-and-fairest count.

He battled a very serious foot injury in the off-season and it is clear that the ailment has hampered him to the point of being ineffectual to this stage of 2013. He has no spark, no presence.

Compounding his problems was a reference to him in a text message exchange between Demons doctor Dan Bates and controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank.

The matter has been added to the ongoing investigations by ASADA and the AFL. It is known to be yet another cause of stress for Trengove this year, as the reference to him was over possible use of an anti-obesity substance, which is at the core of the Essendon probe.

Still only 21, Trengove was once a bright, bubbly young man who gave every impression he enjoyed every aspect of football and life.

He does not appear to be that person now.

There is no doubt he has captaincy potential. Even a brief conversation with him leaves one in no doubt that he possesses real presence and life smarts.

But when you’re plucked at just 20 years of age and with just 37 matches to your name, and asked to lead 45 men at a team which has problems from top to bottom, those qualities are going to take a battering.

Trengove managed just six disposals in the Demons’ dismal weekend loss to Carlton. He is averaging four less disposals year-on-year (18 in 2012, 14 in 2013), but in keeping with his determined approach at all times, he has increased his tackle count (average six, up from 4.5).

With Grimes now out for up to three months, even more focus will fall on Trengove if he is to maintain his current status.

There is a readymade replacement as captain, and the Demons should call on that person immediately.

Nathan Jones may not have been a viable captaincy candidate for the 2012 season, but he is now.

He won the best-and-fairest last year, is probably headed for the same title again this year, and polled 14 Brownlow votes in 2012.

Jack Trengove leaves the MCG following Melbourne's loss to Calron in round six. Picture: AFL Media

There are far more polished media performers than Jones, but so what. He is OK at that caper, and most importantly, he won’t have to worry about his own form when talking publicly.

Taking the captaincy away from Trengove doesn’t have to be seen as a negative, or a concession that he will not at some stage of his career be a good leader.

What it should be seen as is a positive, bold move made in the best interests of the young man himself

Twitter: @barrettdamian, @AFL
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs