AFL: Small things like cleaning up a teammate doused in milk could turn into big things come finals time for Melbourne

Star Melbourne midfielder Jack Viney could be back as soon as next week’s mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash with the Western Bulldogs as coach Simon Goodwin weighs up “tough decisions” over an abundance of key talls.

Luke Jackson, who missed last week’s win over Carlton with a broken finger, is ready to resume his place in the undefeated Demons line-up, putting Goodwin in the enviable position of having too much talent at his disposal.

Sam Weideman was strong in his first game for the season last week alongside Ben Brown, and Goodwin wants to work on the “cohesion” among his tall forwards particularly.

With nine wins on the trot to open 2021, Goodwin said the inner competition was driving his unbeaten outfit to be even better.

“They are all competing really strong and working with each other. They want to operate well together,” Goodwin said on Wednesday.

“It’s tough because we have to make some tough decisions and have some tough conversations, but it’s all about getting better and improving and making the team successful.

“I’m excited by the opportunity it presents for us. The more cohesion we build together the better we will be.”

Viney, who hasn’t played since Round 6 because of bone stress in his foot, is back training and, depending on how the “reloading” goes, could be available to play the second-placed Bulldogs next Friday.

“When you are reloading a bone in your foot it’s important you do it cautiously,” Goodwin said.

“If you get through those steps you become available.”

Former captain Nathan Jones will also return via the VFL and could be used as a medical sub more often this season to get full value from his “versatility” as a player and mentor.

“We addressed it after the game … Gawny just said that’s probably not good enough."

Christian Petracca unpacked a bizarre post-game milk shower on #AFL360


Goodwin said he “wasn’t even thinking about” managing players despite his team’s barnstorming start to the season.

He said that success was as much about the culture of respect and competition being cultivated at Melbourne, which was on display last week when rookie small forward Kade Chandler was drenched in milk during the team song post-game.

Star midfielder Christian Petracca was then seen cleaning the milk out of Chandler’s hair and conceded using milk, not Gatorade, to celebrate his first win went “too far”.

Goodwin said that “little thing” showed the sort of behaviours that could have a big impact.

“There’s a way you can go about doing things, and you can reward behaviour, which we do a lot when we see things we like, and there are things that need to be addressed and our players have been brilliant,” he said.

“Talking about the milk, it’s just a respect thing, for the nutritionist that had made the protein shake, respect for the property and cleaners at the MCG, that we do things right.

“They may seem small but they can turn into big things. That’s how our culture looks like at the moment, and I am really proud of how our players are behaving in that space.”

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