Goodwin: Dees won’t risk key duo Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says Jack Watts and Nathan Jones won’t be played next week if there’s any risk
AN IN-FORM Melbourne could be forced to face West Coast at Domain Stadium without two of its key players, with co-captain Nathan Jones and impressive forward Jack Watts in doubt for next Saturday’s game.
Jones suffered a quad strain in the third quarter and played little further part in the match while a tight hamstring in the final term for Watts saw him sit out the rest of the contest.
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Coach Simon Goodwin said he was wary of risking his players, considering the trip to Perth will be on the back of a short turnaround. Melbourne led by 50 points at the final break.
It looms as a crunch clash, with the Demons and Eagles each sitting on seven wins.
“They’re both a bit sore. Nathan’s got a bit of a quad that we’ll assess and Jack’s a little bit tight in his hamstring,” Goodwin said.
“With six-day breaks, we just decided to rest them for the last quarter and not put them out there.
“We’ll assess them during the week but if there’s any risk, we certainly won’t be playing them.”
WATCH: Simon Goodwin’s full post-match press conference
For Jones, 29, soft tissue injuries haven’t typically been a problem.
“(It) probably looks more like a strain. He hasn’t had any muscular problems before. He just feels a little different down there to what he would normally feel,” Goodwin said.
Star ruckman Max Gawn will line up against the Eagles after overcoming a hamstring injury while key forward Jesse Hogan will be in full training for the next two-to-three weeks before looking to return from testicular cancer.
The Demons have won four of their past five games and sit in fifth spot. Their pressure and work at the contest overwhelmed the stuttering Western Bulldogs.
WATCH: Dogs and Dees clash in fiery first half
Goodwin didn’t want to forecast how far his team could go this season but said the signs were promising.
“I’m not sure where it (the momentum) can take us. I know that the players are continually starting to build trust and belief with one another, and there’s real connection to the way they’re playing for one another,” Goodwin said.
The contest was especially feisty after Demons forward Tom Bugg posted a challenge on Instagram before the game, taking a photo with Watts and asking if Dogs runner Jason Johannisen was ready. That came after the Norm Smith medallist attracted plenty of physical attention against Sydney in round 12 and had a poor game.
Goodwin admitted he was surprised by the provocative post.
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“It’s a new platform … and it’s something that’s a bit foreign to me. When speaking to Tom and Jack, they know Jason. It was a bit of banter from their part,” he said.
“It’s really important to establish that we want to be a club that’s respectful and humble in the way we go about our business and that’s the discussions we’ve had with our playing group.
“I’m not sure where the game’s going in that domain but I think from our perspective, that’s how we want to be seen.
“Hopefully it’s not taken the wrong way because it raises my eyebrows when I see it, because it’s foreign to me.”