Demons embrace sun and try to regain form

Melbourne captain Nathan Jones says he believes the Demons are getting back to playing last year's tough brand of football ahead of their AFL match in Darwin.

nathan jones of the demons kicks the ball whilst being tackled by isaac smith of the hawks during the afl match between the hawthorn hawks and the melbourne demons at mcg in melbourne australia
NATHAN JONES of the Demons kicks the ball whilst being tackled by Isaac Smith of the Hawks during the AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at MCG in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Media/Getty Images

Melbourne's 3,200km flight to Darwin to face Adelaide might be a work trip and not a holiday but Demons captain Nathan Jones said it was nice to get away from the wintry weather down south.

It is also a chance for the team to get away from Melbourne's football "bubble" in what has been a poor season after the club got within a match of a grand final last year.

"The weather is obviously beautiful, we left Melbourne where it was only about 10 degree to wake up this morning and walk around in shorts and tee-shirts a have a run around," he told reporters.

It is the 10th year of the Demons' deal to play a home match at the 12,500 capacity TIO Stadium each year along with a match in Alice Springs since 2014.

Jones, who is 31 and has played throughout that decade, said the team embraced the experience and felt privileged to be exposed to the NT's prominent Indigenous culture.

The players have visited conducted clinics at a remote community, school and the Don Dale youth detention centre while in Darwin.

He said he felt a personal connection through playing with Indigenous footballers, especially former Demon Austin Wonaeamirri who is from the Tiwi Islands and still plays in Darwin.

"I was lucky enough to get entrenched into and get a great understanding of that .... the importance of the culture and what it actually means to these boys," Jones said.

"It is a different vibe but one we love being part of really, a little bit like local footy."

Melbourne are 16th with a 3-7 record heading into the clash against a seventh-placed Crows team coming off two close losses in a row.

But Jones said he was optimistic about the rest of the season saying in the last month "we've made some significant inroads in terms of improving as a side and getting back the brand of footy we've become accustomed to.

"I think I've got some real perspective on the whole thing personally but I understand the game is made up of really small margins and sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't," he said.

Some injured players have returned too, including Michael Hibberd, Christian Salem and Mitch Hannan, with Steven May and Jake Lever due back.


AAP