Demons celebrate AFL flag with supporters
Flag hero Jack Viney says Melbourne have turned the page on their drought-breaking AFL premiership and are now hell-bent on replicating their grand final success on home soil next year.
More than two months since the historic Optus Stadium decider, the Demons were finally able to celebrate their first flag since 1964 with their supporters at the MCG on Sunday.
More than 30,000 turned up as club greats David Neitz and Neale Daniher presented the premiership cup to captain Max Gawn and coach Simon Goodwin.
The official celebration came a day before Melbourne players are due to report back for pre-season training at Casey Fields.
"The Demon faithful came out in big numbers and the energy was unbelievable," Viney said.
"It was a special moment to celebrate with our fans.
"As good as winning the premiership was over in Perth, there was certainly a piece to the puzzle missing - being able to do it with family and friends and a full-packed MCG of Demon fans.
"This was nice to close a chapter in a way and tomorrow is back onto the 2022 season."
The throng of Melbourne fans cheered every goal as they sat glued to the replay of September's triumph over the Western Bulldogs on the MCG's big screens before players were presented with their medals.
Viney's attention quickly turned towards the possibility of winning another premiership next year, when the grand final is set to return to Victoria after being forced interstate for the past two years.
The 2022 season will begin on March 16 when Melbourne unfurl their flag in a Wednesday night re-match with the Bulldogs at the MCG.
"Typically we've been pushed to the Sunday arvo twilight game, so to be kicking things off with a grand final re-match (is huge)," Viney said.
"It's almost motivation in a sense knowing the Doggies will be bloody firing, so we've got to train our arses off over the pre-season and make sure we come ready to kick our season off in good fashion."
Melbourne will be aiming to become the fourth team this century to win successive premierships after Brisbane (2001-03), Hawthorn (2013-15) and Richmond (2019-20).
Viney said defeats against Adelaide and Collingwood mid-way through last season were stark reminders of the Demons' need to improve next year.
"This is a fiercely competitive competition, I mean, we lost games to teams that didn't play in finals," the tough midfielder said.
"Any team on any given day can beat the next.
"Teams would've finished extremely hungry, they would've reviewed their programs and come up with strategies to better themselves.
"We have to do the same, we have to keep evolving and looking for ways to improve."
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