Dees fly early to meet Freo
Dees fly early to meet Freo

Melbourne will take the unusual step of flying to Darwin today in a bid to be better prepared for Saturday night's match against Fremantle.

The Demons have only travelled three times this season, but beat the Crows in Adelaide and led in the final quarter against top-four fancies Port Adelaide before being overrun in their clash in Alice Springs.

Coach Paul Roos said the players had embraced the chance to play in the Northern Territory and he wanted to give them the chance to train at TIO Stadium and be ready for the clash.

"You're coming out of 12 or 13 degrees and going up to 27 or 28. It's a night game and it tends to get a bit slippery," Roos said.

"We enjoy going up there. Having coached an interstate club, when you're travelling every second week, it tends to get a bit old.

"You tend to get a bit weary of it. But when you're a Melbourne-based club and you don't go interstate all that often, it's actually quite exciting.

"You get the group together a bit more, you can do slightly different things.

"We'll train up there, your meeting times will be a little bit different, so it's quite good to get away."

The match will see Roos coaching against close friend Ross Lyon for the first time since 2010.

The pair were teammates at Fitzroy and Lyon was an assistant under Roos when Sydney won the 2005 premiership.

"From a footy point of view, we talk a fair bit of general footy stuff, but he doesn't tell me too much about the Dockers," Roos said.

"I'm sure I'll ring him at some point and speak to him this week, but there won't be a lot about the game.

"They're obviously one of the benchmark sides and they're hard to play anywhere."

Melbourne have become a vastly better defensive team this season, conceding 1154 points from their 14 games compared to 1775 points at the same stage last year.

Eight of Melbourne's matches have been decided by 20 points or less and Roos said the players understood the importance of making every moment matter.

Roos defended free agent James Frawley after former Demons captain Garry Lyon questioned his value for money.

Lyon said Frawley was a one-dimensional player, but Roos said he was a crucial member of the team.

"James at his best is an All-Australian defender and he's certainly been a really consistent player for this footy club," Roos said.

"We hope that we can keep him, we hope he stays. Around the club he has been terrific."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West