Jake Melksham was traded to the Demons for pick 25 on a ‘deal he couldn’t refuse’.
Why the Demons?
Melksham has a close relationship with Simon Goodwin, the next coach of the Demons. The money was too good to refuse, and he was still a fringe player at the Bombers, despite notching up over 100 games in his time at Windy Hill. Despite being maligned, he fits into Paul Roos’ ‘tough Demons’ mantra, with an unrelenting attack on the ball and the willingness to lay strong tackles.
What sort of player is he?
Melksham has played as a run-with midfielder, but he’s also shown great signs as a defensive half-forward. He racks up inside 50s, although his delivery in there could be better. He can win his own ball on the inside, as he has terrific strength and desire, but he also runs hard enough to be a link-up player on the outside of the contest. As mentioned, he’s a tackling machine and he’s at worst an above average tagger.
At his best
Melksham’s form fluctuated a lot throughout 2015, but he played three outstanding games, and all three were games where the Bombers rose to the occasion in tight clashes. In Round One against the Swans, he finishes with 20 disposals, a goal, 10 contested possessions, nine tackles and six clearances. The next week he had a season high 26 disposals against the Hawks, with 12 inside 50’s and 22 uncontested possessions. He capped the season off with an excellent performance against the Suns, with 10 one percenters. Melksham’s best game ever was against Geelong in 2011, where he had 29 disposals, eight clearances, seven tackles and a goal to single-handedly push the Bombers to a win over the would-be premiers.
Where will he fit in the team?
The Demons midfield is full of emerging talents, with only Bernie Vince, Nathan Jones and Jack Viney as truly solidified stars at this point. Melksham will add to their depth, but he sits as an upgrade on the likes of Viv Michie, Aaron vandenBerg and Ben Newton. He could take over as the main negating player to free up Vince.
Pick 25 in this draft will slide down to around pick 30 when it is all done and dusted with academy selections and compensation picks. 30 is just about spot on for Melksham, as he fills a clear need in the Demons’ midfield. He’s still quite young, but he also brings experience to the Demons and he’s the enforcer type that can keep other teams from tormenting Melbourne’s younger brigade. Pick 30 this year will net the Bombers a decent player, who will probably have the same amount of talent as Melksham.
Will he be a success?
Melksham is a low-risk medium-reward type player for the Demons. It’s quite likely he could end up playing over 100 games for the Dees. Worst case scenario he gets overtaken by the likes of Christian Salem, Angus Brayshaw and Christian Petracca in two or three years and he ends up being a decent VFL depth player.