CO-CAPTAIN Jack Viney has praised the performance of big man Jake Spencer, who in his first AFL match in almost 600 days, was assigned one of football’s toughest tasks – rucking against Fremantle great Aaron Sandilands.
Spencer, who kicked Melbourne’s first goal and helped spark a comeback in the final term with his second major, worked tirelessly in his side’s two-point loss to Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday.
Viney couldn’t speak highly enough of Spencer’s efforts, as he had big shoes to fill, replacing injured 2016 All-Australian Max Gawn.
“I thought Jake was terrific for us,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“He brings his own skill set. He’s not the same ruckman as Max, but I thought he brought his skill set to the game and was absolutely terrific for us.
“Big ‘Pencil’ brings an aggression at ground level and he follows up – that’s why I love playing with him. He was a big asset for us.”
Reflecting on the loss, Viney said his side lacked composure when it was a “scramble” late in the game.
“It was really frustrating at the end of it. There were patches throughout the game where we played good football and bad football,” he said.
“There were some good opportunities late in the game to show some composure and we failed at that, but we came out of the game with some clear learnings, which we’re keen to learn from when we’re next in that situation.
“The last two games have certainly left a bitter taste in your mouth, because you were so close and they’re games in hindsight that you could’ve won, but that’s football. Every game has its positives and there are also learnings.”
On his performance, Viney said he believed his start to the season had been “solid without being spectacular”.
“I feel like I’m playing my role within the team at the moment and doing what’s required and popping up here and there, doing some good things,” he said.
“I’m certainly looking to keep getting better and improving throughout the year.”