AFL great Dermott Brereton believes Melbourne must play with more aggression.
The Demons lost their Qualifying Final matchup with the Magpies 60-53 last Thursday and now face a second consecutive straight sets finals exit when theymeet Carlton in Friday night’s Semi Final.
One flashpoint in that game was Brayden Maynard knocking Angus Brayshaw out with a failed smother.
While that collision caused an on-field tussle, Brereton would have liked to see more Demons fly the flag for Brayshaw as he believes too much was left to Jack Viney who was the main teammate that remonstrated with the Magpie.
Brereton believes this is a sign that the Demons need to attack teams physically as he feels Melbourne often play on the back foot from an aggression point of view.
“I can’t remember a time when this Melbourne team – for want of better terminology – belted up an opposition, physically took them to task and had them on the back foot,” Brereton said on SEN Afternoons.
“Maybe they need to get their hands dirty and get a little bit down and dirty themselves, because teams are actually attacking them physically.
“They’ve got the capabilities … Steven May is quite a big chunky fella who loves mixing it.
“When Maynard ran into Brayshaw, who ran at Maynard? Who said, ‘I’ve got you, you’ll be lucky to see this game through’?
“The one bloke that did was Jack Viney and Jack Viney is a rover.
“They need somebody to actually fly the flag and physically say, ‘Hey, you know what, I’ll protect you. If something happens, I’ll go in, I’ll fly the flag. I’ll take that heat. I’ll grimace and froth at the mouth and I’ll grab them by the throat and I’ll push them up against the fence’.
“You can’t do anything more than that these days, but perhaps they need to actually play with a little aggro.”
Brereton believes playing with more aggression could unlock this Melbourne side that has a list which should – in Brereton’s eyes – win more than the 2021 premiership they currently have.
“As I said, there’s teams that actually physically attack them and believe that they can get at them,” Brereton said.
“They’re way too good, this Melbourne list needs to win another premiership.
“The talent on this Melbourne list needs to win another premiership for how good they are.
“It’ll be underachieving if they don’t.”
Melbourne will hope to progress to a Preliminary Final for the first time since 2021 when they face the Blues at the MCG on Friday night.