For a long time, Melbourne has been an afterthought in the AFL. Most teams look at the fixture, see a clash with Melbourne and although they will never admit it, mark it down as a likely win.
The Demons have been toothless, impotent and altogether lacking in weapons for the better part of five years. Shrouded in tanking allegations, dealt a massive blow by the death of their spiritual figurehead Jim Stynes and below-par performances on the field have all contributed to their diminutive standing in the AFL today.
Finally, however, it looks as though they have taken a step in the right direction, and what a massive, thundering step it is.
Many in the football world were sceptical when the Demons reached out and snaffled West Australian teenager Jesse Hogan during the trade period of 2012. They traded their pick 3 to Greater Western Sydney and received the rights to Hogan in return.
The deal turned heads at the time with some raising eyebrows and questioning the legitimacy of the trade. Insider trading was thrown around.
At the end of the day, the Demons secured the services of Hogan and all those that don’t support Melbourne should be scared.
As of February of 2012, Hogan is 18 years old and as such, cannot play a game for premiership points for the Demons until Round 1 of 2014. By that stage, he will have had two full AFL pre-seasons under his belt, a luxury almost unique and previously unfathomable for new draftees.
Hogan arrived at Melbourne standing at 193cm tall and weighing in at 91kg. In the short while he has been at the club, he has put on 6kg and grown 2cm to tip the scales at an astonishing 97kg.
But all these fancy numbers and measurements mean nothing without seeing the young man strut his stuff on the football field. Yes, he kicked 26 goals from 12 games at WAFL level as a 17-year-old, sure he registered 50 hit outs and took 93 marks across those same 12 games, but that doesn’t say he could do it at AFL level.
The Demons applied for special consideration from the AFL to unleash the monstrous Hogan in their first NAB Cup triple header against North Melbourne and Richmond, and Hogan did not disappoint.
Attacking packs with a determination and force usually reserved for the descriptions of the likes of Wayne Carey, Jonathan Brown and Tony Lockett, Hogan threw himself at everything against North Melbourne.
Every time Hogan went near the footy, he exuded confidence and displayed a comfort at the top level that many draftees would dream of. Not since David Neitz and David Schwarz were commanding the Melbourne forward line in the 90s has there been such a presence in the attacking 50.
Whilst his Melbourne teammates go about their AFL business this year, Hogan will be in the gym and will likely play games with Melbourne’s VFL affiliate the Casey Scorpions, and the focus will be on his body maturing and adding muscle.
He is at least a year younger than every other player drafted this year excluding Jack Martin. By the time he is named in the Round 1 of 2014 squad for Melbourne, he will be even more of a colossus than he already is.