Garry Lyon bakes Melbourne Demons over forwards crisis before AFL 2024 season

A light-hearted comment from Garry Lyon has hit a bit too close for the Melbourne Demons after a disastrous 2024 pre-season.

The 2021 premiers have given fans little hope that the club’s forward line crisis will be fixed when they run out to face the Swans in the new-look opening round on March 7.

It’s why Lyon’s light-hearted jab at his own club will make uncomfortable reading for many.

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The Demons’ match simulation meeting with Richmond last week showed Jacob van Rooyen was the club’s No. 1 target going forward after a 2023 season that was plagued by a dysfunctional forward line.

Former No. 2 draft pick Josh Schache was even tossed into the starting 22 for the club’s finals series loss to Collingwood after Brodie Grundy was left out completely.

Tom McDonald was dropped to reserve grade in 2023, while Ben Brown is still on the injured list.

It’s easy to see why Lyon was prepared to joke that his club won’t be putting on big scores any time soon.

“We may not kick more than 10 goals a game for the year,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

He went on to say: “I’m fearful that we might not kick more than 10 goals for the year.”

SEN co-host Tim Watson was also prepared to have a light-hearted laugh at his former club Essendon after the club was outclassed by St Kilda in their match simulation.

“This is tongue in cheek, but my natural reaction is that not only have we not gone forwards, we’ve gone backwards,” the Bombers legend said.

“Having watched that and you know when you walk away from a game and you want to have something positive about what you’ve seen, I couldn’t find one thing that I was positive about having watched them play. Not one thing.”

Other footy greats have shown mixed reaction to the Demons’ hopes of contending for a premiership this year.

The club has been engulfed by scandals all over the summer with Clayton Oliver’s form a mystery, while Joel Smith remains provisionally suspended as a result of a doping charge.

Kangaroos great David King has told Fox Footy he can see the Demons sliding out of the top eight this year.

“I think they’ve had a great run and been terrific as a football club. We laud their leaders — Gawn, Petracca, Viney, May and Lever — they’re hall of famers for the Melbourne Football Club,” the dual premiership Kangaroo began.

“But I just think there’s too many self inflicted wounds through one off-season and the stress of everything going on around the edges. You start wasting too much time on things outside of football.

“You stress the football club, not just these players, and it permeates through the group.”

The Demons will face Carlton in the AFL Community Series on Wednesday night at Ikon Park in their final hit out before travelling to Sydney for the season opener at the SCG.

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