Watts still has hunger: Neeld
Jack Watts. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Jack Watts has still got the hunger and thirst needed to play in the AFL, Melbourne coach Mark Neeld said this morning.
The Demons dropped the No.1 draft pick ahead of their clash with Geelong at Simonds Stadium tomorrow, breaking his run of playing 42 straight AFL games. Neeld said although the 21-year-old wasn't playing very well, he was far from being jaded.
"It's not a concern at all. He's talented, he's played a whole heap of AFL games in a row. It's a good effort for a 21-year-old kid," Neeld said.
"He's got a few things, one of which is the tackling aspect."
Watts was disappointing last week against St Kilda, failing to curtail the Saint's Sam Fisher in a unfamiliar negating role. He will play for Casey against Geelong in the curtain-raiser tomorrow.
Neeld said he was not sure how long Watts would stay in the VFL, but said he had been receptive to feedback and the changes needed to lift his performance back to AFL standard.
"We've had a couple of really good chats, productive chats during the week and he's on the training track confronting the things we want him to confront, and we'll see how he goes at VFL level."
Neeld said Watts still had a promising career in the AFL and could foresee him playing several vital roles for the club.
"He's tall enough to play as a key forward, there's no doubting that. Can we put some muscle mass on him to enable him to wrestle with those big defenders? Yeah, I think we can.
"He's also got that athletic ability and the agility to play through the midfield, which is hard to match up on. I think he'll spend his career being able to play in a number of positions.
"My reality is, I look at it and he's 21 years of age, highly talented player... he's going all right."