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Jack Watts rediscovers joy of footy as Dees' fortunes improve

Highlights: Richmond v Melbourne The Tigers and Demons clash in round 9
Jack Watts of Melbourne kicks for goal during the 2014 AFL Round 09 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on May 17, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Playing as a settled forward has seen an improvement in Jack Watts' game
We've been working our arses off and certain things haven't quite been working out
Jack Watts can see the Demons' fortunes turning
"THIS is what footy's about, isn't it?"

It was a statement, rather than a question, from Jack Watts who stared triumphantly around the joyous Melbourne change rooms.

Fans, decked out in full Melbourne gear, are milling around. Watts' team had just knocked off Richmond, a finalist last season, and it was clear in the tone of his voice that the Demons players were enjoying football again.

"We've been working our arses off and certain things haven't quite been working out," Watts said after Saturday's game.

"This team-first attitude that we've got this year will hold us in good stead."

Five talking points: Richmond v Melbourne

Watts played as significant a part as any in the Demons' 17-point win at the MCG on Saturday, helping himself to 19 disposals and a career-high 11 marks as a mobile, hard-working forward.

Coach Paul Roos said Watts was benefiting from the predictability playing as a permanent forward had afforded him.

"Playing in the midfield was good for him for a while, but certainly now we've settled him down the last few weeks his form's really jumped up to a good, consistent level," Roos said.

The Demons pulled the win off, as they have done all season, with an unconventional line-up.

Jeremy Howe soaring for marks down back and Cam Pedersen, along with Chris Dawes, as the key target up forward.

Watts said having Howe down back added some stability to the side, while he praised the work of Pedersen and Dawes who laid eight tackles apiece to drive home the team's improved defensive mindset.

"That's the beautiful thing about Howey down backā€¦ it gives us a lot of predictability as a team. He's embraced that role, he's playing fantastically well," Watts said.

Watts said Melbourne's players now understood the importance of working within the parameters of the team.

"I think in the past we've thought that individually we had to do something special to win a game of AFL footy," Watts said.

"Whereas (now) if every player just plays his role when it's his turn to go, that's when you win games of footy. That's the realisation we're coming to, the understanding that's all you need. You don't need to do anything over the top, just play your role and team-first footy."

Twitter: @AFL_BenGuthrie