Since debuting for the club in 2006, Bernie Vince had been a strong presence in the Adelaide midfield. Renowned for his attack on the ball and acute goal-sense, Vince quickly became a favourite of the Crows’ faithful.
Despite his undoubted talent, there have also been struggles along the way. Intermittent injuries and off-field indiscretions mean Vince hasn’t quite reached the lofty standards set by Adelaide’s top brass.
It was perhaps for this reason that the Crows accepted Melbourne’s second round draft pick in exchange for the winger and made the surprising trade with the struggling club, who was looking to add experience and depth to its midfield lineup. Vince will go a long way towards backing up Nathan Jones through the midfield.
The past few years have been disastrous for the AFL’s oldest club. Poor list management and coaching has meant the Dees’ engine room has lacked the strength and experience to compete with the rest of the competition. Whilst not the only missing link, Vince will help to add some experience and poise to the Demons’ line up.
Vince’s value to the Demons was already evident in their NAB Challenge matches. In their win against Richmond, he had 32 disposals and provided a constant supply of the ball to the Demons other runners.
If played in the midfield, Vince will help supply the Demons’ smaller, younger players like Jimmy Toumpas with the ball. His work ethic and slick skills also set the sort of example that has been sorely lacking in previous years.
Vince provides a small option who can kick goals when pushed forward, and will also provide great defensive pressure when the ball is turned over. If he can stay fit and out of the headlines, Vince can definitely fill one of the pieces missing from the puzzle that is Melbourne’s lineup.
Surrounded by inexperienced young players, Paul Roos will be looking for him to stand up and show the way for his new teammates. Early signs have been positive: Vince seems to be relishing his new surroundings, despite being reluctant to leave the club who gave him his AFL start.
Hopefully for the Melbourne faithful, Bernie Vince will fill one of the gaps that has been so blatantly exposed in the past few seasons. Coupled with Paul Roos’ new gameplan and a number of other fresh faces in the squad, the outlook for 2014 seems to be far more positive than it has been in the past few years.
There’s no doubt the Dees will be looking forward to having his attack on the ball and experience in their fresh midfield.