Grimes flourishes in comeback match

Jack Grimes4FORMER Melbourne co-captain Jack Grimes has been reprogrammed for a new role at the Demons and took some promising steps in his team’s convincing win over Fremantle in Darwin.

Grimes was made to wait until round 16 to play his first senior game of the season, but starred in Melbourne’s 32-point win over the Dockers at TIO Stadium on Saturday night.

The former co-captain played on the wing and gathered 32 disposals, nine marks and had five inside 50s to be one of the Demons’ best across the contest.

Coach Paul Roos said the 27-year-old’s form in the VFL for the Casey Scorpions had seen him earn selection for his 99th career game at the club, and that it continued to show the Demons’ growing depth.

“It was good to see him getting a bit of the ball and he took a crucial mark late in the game as well when we were under siege a bit,” Roos said after the win.

“It’s encouraging as a footy club that when our ‘seconds’ are playing really well you can see that when they come into the seniors they are really well prepared.

“It’s good for Jack to get a game, we were confident he’d play well and he did.”

Roos said the club had been working with Grimes to develop him into a wingman, seeing him shift up the ground from half-back. He was pleased Grimes was able to combine with Melbourne’s fellow on-ballers to put in a strong display.

“We’ve tried to change his game a bit away from being a defender and give him an opportunity to play in different parts of the ground,” Roos said.

“Our wings were really effective today – Matty Jones (30 disposals), Billy Stretch (12 disposals) and ‘Grimesy’. Every role is important but I think the wing role has never been more important in football than now.

“I think it showed today that he’s (Grimes) made some improvements.”

Roos was pleased overall with the Demons’ win against the Dockers, which broke a seven-game losing streak in the Northern Territory and a seven-game losing run to Fremantle.

The Demons set up the win with a six-goal first term and a 29-point lead at the opening change, but Roos said there was no sense of dissatisfaction they could not complete a larger victory over the 16th-placed Dockers.

“We were coming off a six-day break, and we haven’t been able to do that too well this year, so there was a lot more to like than to dislike about the game,” he said.