They’ve both already won an AFL premiership but Melbourne young guns Jake Bowey and Luke Jackson have Demons coach Simon Goodwin excited to see what the future holds.
Despite superstar midfielder Christian Petracca picking up a career-high 41 disposals, it was Melbourne’s fresh talents who were the focus of a 13-point win at Metricon Stadium against Gold Coast on Saturday.
Jackson, the 2021 rising star, played a key role in wrestling the advantage back in Melbourne’s favour after the Suns had made a bright start.
Given the nod from Max Gawn to take the lead in the ruck early in the first term, Jackson was everywhere before he then popped up with a crucial goal late in the opening quarter to put the Demons ahead.
Equally impressive, 19-year-old Bowey picked up 34 disposals and nine marks as he constantly mopped up loose balls and extended his career record to nine wins from nine AFL appearances.
Throw in a two-goal display from the exciting Kysaiah Pickett and a solid return from injury by Trent Rivers and Goodwin left the Gold Coast a satisfied man.
“That’s the great thing about the position that we’re in,” he said.
“I loved the way the kids played (on Saturday) … I felt Kozzy Pickett’s pressure was great.
“Jake Bowey, Trent Rivers – first game back after a month away from footy. Luke Jackson. We had a lot of young guys that contributed strongly.
“That’s a great thing.
“Sometimes your leaders, or your best players aren’t necessarily going to be the most dominant players on the ground but those guys stepped up really well and executed their role incredibly well.”
The Demons will look to extend their unbeaten start to the season when they host winless Essendon at the MCG on Friday, with Goodwin saying Jake Lever (foot) and Michael Hibberd (calf) are chances to face the Bombers.
“Christian Salem (knee) clearly won’t play but we’ll look at Hibbo and Jake throughout the week, see where they’re at,” he said.
“But I’m really happy with the group we’ve got going at the moment.”