Melbourne’s Nathan Jones is dreaming big after twelve years since his last taste of finals footy.Twelve years and 250 games on from his last taste of September action, Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones is daring to dream of a long-awaited AFL finals return.
With three rounds remaining, the Demons sit fourth on the ladder and are well-placed to finally book their first finals berth since 2006.
Long-suffering Dees fans could be forgiven for not getting ahead of themselves given the club was on the cusp of a top-eight finish last season, only to lose their final-round game to Collingwood and fall short by just 0.5 per cent.
Just four points separate the Demons from 10th-placed North Melbourne, although their percentage is comfortably better than all rivals bar ladder-leaders Richmond.
Melbourne also have a tough run home with games against Sydney, West Coast (away) and GWS.
Jones is the last remaining player from the Demons’ 2006 finals tilt which ended with a semi-final defeat to Fremantle.
The 30-year-old is desperate to return to the big stage and believes the talent-stacked Demons have the potential to make a deep finals run.
“I think about it all the time,” he told reporters.
“I don’t think you’d be human if you weren’t thinking about the possibilities and dreaming of what outcomes there are.
“There is a great opportunity here for the footy club and this team in particular but the season couldn’t be closer.
“We’ve got to give ourselves the best chance by performing our best for the next three weeks.”
Jones’ co-captain Jack Viney remains sidelined by a foot injury with the Demons targeting the first week of the finals for his return.
Key defender Michael Hibberd (quad) is due to return next week while forward Jake Melksham (hamstring) is 50-50 for Sunday’s clash with Sydney at the MCG.
The Dees will make at least one forced change for the Swans clash after backman Joel Smith broke his collarbone during their thumping win over Gold Coast.