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  • Writer's pictureJack Turner

2023 Defence Ratings: Melbourne


2022 Numbers:

Points Against (Brennan Jakovich Shield): 1483 - 1st

Inside 50's Against Per Goal: 4.88 - 2nd

Scarlett Silvagni Medal Votes: 64 - 3rd


Defenders:

Keys: Jed Adams, Jake Lever, Steven May, Harrison Petty, Adam Tomlinson, Daniel Turner, Kye Turner

General: Jake Bowey, Angus Brayshaw, Michael Hibberd, Judd McVee, Trent Rivers, Christian Salem, Josh Schache, Deakyn Smith, Joel Smith


In: Josh Schache, Kye Turner

Out: Mitch Brown (retired), Majak Daw (retired)


Melbourne were widely expected to go back-to-back for much of last year, before Geelong got on to a 15-game winning streak, and a plucky Sydney side shocked the Dees in a qualifying final.


The Demons sat on top of the ladder for 11 weeks, between rounds 4 and 16, before clinging to a top two spot on percentage, and bailing out of the finals in straight sets.


One thing that didn't go wrong for Melbourne in 2022 was their backline.


They had the least points against, just one kick ahead of Fremantle and Geelong, were second best for preventing inside 50's from turning into goals, and had two All Australians in their backline.


This team built its premiership around using high draft picks for midfielders, and bringing in talented defenders Steven May and Jake Lever, and is a strong side when they both play.


That's without mentioning up-and-coming star Harrison Petty, who is one of the best defenders in the competition on his day, with just 48 games under his belt.


Keeping both May and Lever fit is the challenge, as when they both play, Melbourne's record improves greatly. When all three of May, Lever and Petty play, it is even better.


So where does the improvement come from?


There's the chance it was something of a hangovr, with Brisbane and Sydney younger and hungrier come September, but there's also the case of Melbourne's ongoing key forward woes - but we're not here to talk about them.


Petty, Bowey and Rivers are the exciting names to watch for improvement. Bowey played some near-best-on-ground performances last season, and Rivers is a known talent.


Adam Tomlinson also presents as almost a new recruit, as injuries and Petty's improvement saw him sidelined, but he provides great depth if Petty is used as a swing man.


Back Pocket Rating: A

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