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Dees must toil to make AFL finals: Goodwin

AAP logoAAP 6/11/2016 Michael Ramsey

New coach Simon Goodwin says his young Melbourne side must run with the best of them to break their decade-long AFL finals drought.

The Demons' first to fourth year players on Monday resumed training ahead of the senior players, including star recruit Jordan Lewis, returning from their post-season break later this month.

With Lewis adding class and experience to an already impressive midfield and the likes of Jesse Hogan and Jack Viney continuing to improve, the Demons have no shortage of talent on their list.

But Goodwin, who took the reins as senior coach after a two-year apprenticeship under Paul Roos, says talent isn't enough and the team must improve their ability to run out games if they are to feature in September.

"When you have got a young list it probably takes you a period of time physically to be able to handle the demands of the game," he said on Monday.

"That's our challenge. We need to really work hard as a playing group, not only with our football but also our conditioning."

The Demons improved their record to 10 wins this year, with onballer Viney and ruckman Max Gawn enjoying breakout years.

But the side's inconsistency was clear in the final month of the season, with wins over Hawthorn and Port Adelaide followed by fatigued losses to Carlton and Geelong.

"We've obviously had a really proactive trade period and got some experienced players on board but the core underlying fact is that we are still a young group and we need to continue to grow and improve," Goodwin said.

"That starts with preseason training."

Goodwin says the Lewis trade from Hawthorn came as a surprise but the club seized the opportunity to bring in someone of his calibre.

"He comes from a winning environment and he's created some great habits," Goodwin said.

"For a young group like we are, we need to really boost that onfield leadership and also role model behaviours around the club."

The club will determine its leadership roles in February but it's likely Lewis will feature in some capacity, with Viney the best bet to replace Nathan Jones if he steps down as captain.

Viney, who has undergone hip surgery, won't start training until around Christmas, alongside key defender Tom McDonald, Cameron Pedersen and Aaron vandenBerg.

All will be available for round one next year.

Melbourne will manage the return of Jake Melksham and Michael Hibberd, who missed all of last season suspended over Essendon's supplements saga.

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