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Melbourne Football Club

I want to stay a Demon: Watts

OUT-OF-CONTRACT Melbourne star Jack Watts says he wants to stay with the struggling AFL club beyond this season, desperate to be part of the good times he sees eventually coming. 

Watts, who has been linked heavily with a trade away from the club which selected him as the No.1 draft pick in 2008, played solidly in the Demons' 35-point loss to St Kilda at the MCG on Saturday.

Significantly, caretaker coach Neil Craig used Watts, generally a defender under Mark Neeld, as a forward for much of the match.

The 22-year-old was originally drafted as a forward.

Watts admitted the Demons' current situation - 11 losses in 12 games this season and the emotion surrounding the sacking of Neeld this week - was frustrating, but he remained committed to the club and its playing group.

"I do want to stay," Watts said.

"It's a great group of blokes that I've spent the last five years with.

"Obviously it's been tough and at the moment, and as Craigy says, we're non-competitive, and it's frustrating.

"But I think the things that are going on behind closed doors, the way we're training, I want to be there for when things turn around.

"Hopefully that's sooner rather than later."

Craig said it was Melbourne's responsibility to provide the right long-term environment to allow players like Watts to prosper, and want to stay rather than leave.

The Demons' high draft picks have generally struggled in recent years - but whether that is nature or nurture remains a hot topic of debate.

"It's up to the Melbourne footy club to provide an environment for players like Jack who are coming out of contract to stay," Craig said.

"That's part of our responsibility.

"The responsibility for Melbourne footy club is to get our act in order. To provide an environment that when people come to the club, they have an absolute belief they can be the best they can possibly be. So when it comes to somebody like Jack Watts re-signing, it becomes an absolute no-brainer."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs