Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon has expressed his thoughts on Jack Watts' move to Port Adelaide, suggesting it could represent a step forward for the historically unsuccessful Demons.
Melbourne offloaded the 2008 number one draft pick to the Power yesterday, receiving the 31st selection in this year’s national draft in return. Furthermore, Dees general manager of football operations Josh Mahoney told SEN’s The Run Home there is a possibility they will pay part of Watts’ salary in 2018.
Despite the improved form of the 26-year-old over the past few seasons, Lyon believes the ruthless approach from the Demons is something we haven’t seen in decades.
“It’s not a popular call to trade Jack. It’s not an easy call to trade Jack. It’s not a safe call to trade Jack,” he told SEN Breakfast.
“But popular, easy and safe don’t win flags, nor necessarily provide the environment for one – something the Demons haven’t done for 53 years.
“I’ve heard Jack, in the past 24 hours, described as a great player and the heart and soul of the football club. He hasn’t been either of those things. He has been a good, at times but not for long enough, a very good player, and a popular, but also very frustrating, footballer.
“He has had nine years at the elite level. He has finished top five in the best-and-fairest once, he averages 16 touches and 0.9 goals throughout his career, and he has polled a total of 13 Brownlow votes in 153 games.
“Our judgments are made from the grandstands on the weekend, the lounge room if you can’t get there and the training days if you’re totally dedicated. The football club’s decision to trade Jack Watts has not just been made on what happens on the weekend, it’s the manifestation of all that happens throughout the summer months and the day-to-day training loads. It’s the endless hours of game review tapes and it’s the degree of urgency, intensity and desperation that they’ve sought over the years.
“Quite simply, previous regimes have been prepared to settle for less from Jack and I don’t think the Simon Goodwin cartel will. Those that observe Jack more closely and intimately than anyone else in the game are in a far better position to past judgment on whether he is part of their finals and premiership push. The fact they took pick 31 and are contributing to his wage suggests that they’re in no doubt.”
The deal completed a massive NAB AFL Trade Period for Port, who also acquired the services of former Brisbane captain Tom Rockliff and enigmatic Geelong forward Steven Motlop.
Watts played 153 games for Melbourne from 2009-17, with his 2016 season being his best at the club, when he booted 18 goals and finished fifth in the best and fairest count.
This year, he played 16 matches and kicked 22 goals.