Buckley still believes in Melbourne as debate rages on who replaces Van Rooyen

Nathan Buckley isn’t overly concerned by Melbourne despite them losing their Qualifying Final 60-53 against Collingwood last Thursday.

The Dees now reset ahead of a huge Semi Final against Carlton at the MCG on Friday with the winner of that game to head to Brisbane for a Preliminary Final.

Buckley believes Simon Goodwin still has every reason to believe in his group with Melbourne’s midfield up and running as they dominated the inside 50 count 69-37 in Thursday’s loss.

“I think the Dees will be ok,” Buckley said on SEN Breakfast.

“Their midfield is up and going … they got jumped by Collingwood and that was the margin in the game.

“I heard Simon Goodwin talk after the game and his words were around glass half full, and I think he’s got every reason to believe in his group.

“I had a look at the second half in particular, and it was 36 inside fifties in that second half.

“I thought that Collingwood defended exceptionally well. They committed extra numbers to behind the ball at stoppage in particular.

“It was nearly like they were flooding at times and then they were happy to play their run and gun game going back the other way.”

The one area where Melbourne desperately needs to address ahead of the Semi is their forward line as they couldn’t make the most of the entries their midfield provided them.

With Harrison Petty and Jake Lever injured and now Jacob Van Rooyen facing a week on the sidelines with suspension, the Demons will need to make at least one change inside 50.

Without an obvious replacement, Buckley believes Goodwin must go with whoever his most competitive player is who’s currently not in the best 22 and not go back to Brodie Grundy as a forward option.

“I just think you put in the most competitive medium-sized player that you can find,” Buckley said.

“I don’t think you do (go with Grundy). I don’t think that’s the answer.

“I think (Joel) Smith now that they may well go the other way, but I think (Max) Gawn’s been going exceptionally well.

“For Van Rooyen, I just think you just need the next competitor and Carlton … they just pick their best competitors, their best ball winners, the guys that prepared to put second and third efforts in.

“I think that’s the type of player that Melbourne needs to look for again as their 22nd player.”

Kane Cornes also has concerns about Tom McDonald who only kicked one goal and took one mark against the Pies.

He discussed whether Grundy could replace him as a tall in front of the ball with Buckley.

Cornes: “I’m concerned about McDonald as well.

“His lateral movement, his movement in general didn’t look to be at the level that’s required for a final.

“Can Grundy give you what he gave you but also have the flexibility to go in the ruck if you want to use Gawn in the forward half or as a target inside forward 50 when you don’t have a winner?

“I think that would be some nice flexibility to have.”

Buckley: “All you need to do is answer what happens when McDonald’s in the ruck for that 10 per cent.

“He just becomes a structure player.”

Cornes: “Grundy just can’t be that structured player?”

Buckley: “He hasn’t proven to be and as you said they’ve already gone down this path, they’ve already decided it.

“Now when Petty got injured, Grundy came back for one, Grundy played for a half and Smith played for a half as a forward.

“Then they went away from it. So, I don’t think that’s the answer.

“I think Simon Goodwin and the Melbourne match committee have already decided that that’s not the answer.”

The Dees and Blues face off at the MCG in the do-or-die final at 7:50 pm (AEST) on Friday.

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