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Melbourne Football Club

Rawlings praises duo’s versatility

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: Tom McDonald of the Demons celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2015 AFL round 16 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on July 19, 2015. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 19: Tom McDonald of the Demons celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2015 AFL round 16 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on July 19, 2015. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
I think it’s a good evolution of both players to show skill sets in both areas
Jade Rawlings

THE flexibility of Tom McDonald and Jeremy Howe and their ability to play down back or up forward is an important part of their development, according to backline coach Jade Rawlings.

Rawlings said McDonald was still likely to play down back long-term, but said his recent appearances up forward had offered another option for the Demons.

He added that Howe’s ability to return down back after some time up forward also showed he was equally adept at either end.

“I think it’s a good evolution of both players to show skill sets in both areas,” Rawlings told Dee TV.

“I think long-term Tom will play key back – that’s where he’s played his best footy for the club and most of it this year – but for this period of time, it’s worked well for us to play him forward. Time will tell how long this will last.

“Howey’s had a history of playing down back and generally done it quite well. But we’ve thrown him forward for six of the seven weeks and he’s been pretty good, but on the weekend, he was very good down back.

“Some of the more experienced and successful teams have shown that a bit flexibility is really important, especially as you progress as a footy team and mature.”