'Demons hurting the AFL brand'

Written By Unknown on Senin, 08 April 2013 | 23.40

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Brand ... Melbourne's start to the season is one of the worst in history. Source: Wayne Ludbey / News Limited

Respected AFL journalist Mike Sheehan believes Melbourne Demons' horrific start to the season could be having a negative impact on the AFL.

A noted Demons supporter, Sheehan said while they would never admit it, the AFL were worried about the club after their 148-point defeat to Essendon.

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"The AFL aren't enjoying this, no one is enjoying this," Sheehan said on FOX FOOTY's On The Couch.

"My view is, (the AFL) don't declare this and it isn't policy, they think the brand is being severely affected.

"The club has performed poorly for an extended period of time and there will be changes made, my guess, the CEO - Cameron Schwab - and the coach (Mark Neeld) won't see the year out."

After heavy defeats to Port Adelaide and the Bombers, the combined 227-point deficit is one of the worst starts in AFL history.

Pressure is mounting on the club's hierarchy and Sheehan and Paul Roos have grave fears for the club's ability to keep and attract players.

"The screws are tightening on everyone at Melbourne, from the president down," Sheehan said.

"The sad reality is this is the oldest club in Australia and it's in worse shape than the two newest clubs; GWS and Gold Coast.

"I'm interested in the future of Jack Watts. He's a first round draft choice and I don't believe he'll be at the club next year.

"I feel sorry for the kid. (The subbing off) is a big statement in a loss like that, it's almost like 'you're the worst offender we've got out there'."

Roos said Watts wasn't the issue, it was the club's ability to develop talented young players.

"You look at the number of early picks that haven't flourished, it's not just Jack Watts," he said.

"Colin Sylvia was another early pick, Cale Morton's not there anymore, Tom Scully's not there anymore. It's time we lay off Jack Watts, there are bigger problems at the club."

Former Melbourne player Gerard Healy believed former All Australian full-back James Frawley was at risk of leaving the club, following the likes of Brent Moloney, Jared Rivers, Brock McLean, Tom Scully, Stefan Martin and Ricky Petterd out the door.

The Demons have the chance to redeem themselves somewhat when they face West Coast Eagles at the MCG on Saturday.

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