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Melbourne Football Club

Backing up in west critical, says Watts

It’s just so important, isn’t it? You look at it and every week is so important. If you let that one go, then this week means nothing, doesn’t it?
Jack Watts

JACK Watts says Melbourne must back up its best win to date, this season – a 57-point win over reigning premiers, the Western Bulldogs, at Etihad Stadium on Sunday – when it takes on the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium next Saturday. 

Watts, who will play his 150th AFL match next round, said Melbourne was in a vital part of the year and it needed to keep the momentum rolling.

“It’s just so important, isn’t it? You look at it, and every week is so important. If you let that one go, then this week means nothing, doesn’t it?” he told Melbourne TV.

“It’s very important and we’re going to have to get over there and play a really good game. They’re extremely hard to beat over there.

“We’re focused on getting our recovery done and moving straight onto next week and beating West Coast.”

Watts said the fact it had a quick turnaround added to the challenge – but one Melbourne was embracing.

“We’ve got three six-day breaks in a row, so we’ve really set ourselves for these three weeks,” he said.

“It was a big win and they (the Bulldogs) had a pretty disappointing week last week, so we knew they were going to come out and really have a crack at us.

“It was a pretty hot game, as everyone saw, and we’re just really proud of the guys and how we played and stuck at it. We stuck to our game plan all day.”

Reflecting on the almost 10-goal win over the Dogs, Watts said the contest always seemed a lot closer, particularly in the first term, when Melbourne led by 25 points at quarter-time.

“I thought it was pretty close. It didn’t feel as though we were right on top. We took our opportunities and kicked the goals that we needed to, which gave us that scoreboard pressure and then we could just keep going from there,” he said.

“They came at one stage in the second quarter – they made a bit of a run – but we were able to hold them off and fight back. They’re a pretty amazing team, so we knew they were always going to come at some stage.

“It was a pretty good effort by the boys.”

Watts continued his fine form with another three goals, after booting three against Collingwood on Queen's Birthday. He has now kicked 20 majors for the season.

“It would’ve been nice to have kicked that other one – that set-shot, but I feel like everyone is playing their little role at the moment,” Watts said.

“It’s not as if we’re going out there and ripping the game apart on your own. If you play the right way, and do the right thing at the right time, everyone is going to get their lick of the ice cream.

“That’s what it felt like. I didn’t feel like I had a huge day or anything, but when I had my chance, I took it the majority of the time. We had 11 goalkickers … which is good.”

Meanwhile, Watts said teammate Tom Bugg’s “you ready” Instagram post to Bulldog Jason Johannisen was sent in good humour.

“I didn’t actually know what he wrote on the photo until post-game, when we got a little talking to,” he said.

“He’s good mates with ‘JJ’ (Jason Johannisen) and we know him through friendship groups and it was just a bit of fun. He did the same thing with [Collingwood’s] Taylor Adams last week, pre-game.

“It was nothing meant by it – or no harm meant by it – but Buggy is a character and a confident bloke. I enjoy that bit of banter between mates. I can see how it might've be taken the wrong way by certain people.”

Watts said Bugg, who kicked two goals and had a hand in another couple, had become an important part of the side.

“He’s really important. For me personally, I’ve been spending a lot of time with him. His mindset and mentality is pretty phenomenal – just how strong he is in his head and that’s been rubbing off on me in the last few weeks,” he said.

“I’m just feeling super confident with where we’re at and where we’re going, so you love a bit of spunk and something different – because we’re so used to the clichés these days.

“He’s a big fan of [Irish boxer and mixed martial artist] Conor McGregor, so I can see where he gets it from.”