NATHAN Jones there are “no panic stations” whatsoever after Melbourne dropped its second match of the season against Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday.
Speaking from AAMI Park on Tuesday afternoon, Jones said a 2-2 win/loss record after four rounds was far from a worrying situation.
“We’re really comfortable with where we’re at on our journey and although there have been losses, there are opportunities for us to continue to learn and get better as a team,” he said.
“It’s part and parcel of the journey we’re on – we’re a young and up-and-coming team that is hellbent on playing a certain way and we’ll go through some adversities.”
The co-captain said his side lacked composure in crucial situations, but already the team has learned plenty from the loss.
“Exterior noise is not something we listen to – in any up-and-coming team there are some inconsistencies in our game,” he said.
“Even in rounds one and two, when we did get wins, there were areas for us to improve on as a team.
“There were some key moments in games where we weren’t able to execute some fundamentals in how we were trying to play.”
Jones said not having midfielder Jordan Lewis or key forward Jesse Hogan in the side for the past two weeks, due to suspension, was something the side wasn’t “super concerned about”.
"As far as we’re concerned, we’re not relying on specific players or individuals ... we’re a team that relies on 22 contributors that play their role,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get Jesse back this week and Jordie the week after and they’ll help with some experience. But as far as relying on individuals and specific personnel, I feel like we can cover that as a team.”
Jones added there was “no doubt” in his mind that he would automatically select Hogan for the Richmond clash, but said it was up to the match committee.
The triple best-and-fairest winner said he was pleased with the performance of Jake Spencer against Fremantle great Aaron Sandilands in the ruck on the weekend.
“I felt like Jake came in and played his role, and he adds a bit of a different dynamic to what Max [Gawn] does,” he said.
“I felt like he competed really hard.”
Looking ahead to Monday night’s ANZAC Eve clash against Richmond at the MCG, Jones said his team couldn't wait for another crack at the big stage.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to play on Monday night, ANZAC Eve, against a red-hot Richmond side,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to put out our skills, and our game on display, and challenge ourselves against one of the league leaders at the minute.”
Jones said tall utility Cameron Pedersen could be a chance to play against the Tigers, after impressing strongly for Casey against Williamstown at Burbank Oval on Easter Monday.
“He’ll definitely come into consideration. He played a pretty solid game yesterday and he’s been in consideration over the last few weeks,” he said.
“His opportunity will definitely come up, now that Maxy’s down.
“I think that gives us a few more opportunities, with his versatility and the way Cam plays."