Melbourne coach Dean Bailey points to the previous week's close loss by driving home to his players the confidence they have in their game. "The challenge was always going to be how they would rebound from the closeness of that game, and they hung in there" Bailey said.
Two Demons had a pivotal role in last weekend's victory. The first was their captain James McDonald. McDonald demonstrated why he is regarded as such a great team player with 24 disposals, 14 handballs and 10 tackles. His intense work-rate shows that he leads by example, and he was rewarded in kicking the game sealer.
The second Demon that impacted this game didn't even make the field. In fact, he almost didn't even see the game. Club president Jim Styne has been an inspiration for the players since he was diagnosed with cancer. Stynes skipped out of hospital by family and friends and whisked home to watch his team. (Stynes was in hospital for more treatment, this time to remove several brain tumors.)
One of the greats to have played for the Melbourne Demons, Stynes is also a Brownlow Medal winner. In 1994 he co-founded 'Reach' with film director Paul Currie. The Reach Foundation is a non-profit, non-denominational organisation committed to supporting young people. Stynes received an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for his work with youth and contribution to Aussie rules.
His hands-on presidential style sees him texting the players with words of encouragement before and after matches. As a result, the whole club has rallied around Stynes in his on-going cancer battle. Through such a serious illness the club has developed a strength and unity that goes beyond the normal club spirit.
The pressure is now back on the Melbourne Demons this week as they prepare for their clash with bottom of the table team Richmond Tigers. The Tigers have internal player discipline troubles to go with their on-field sorrows, and the Demons need to assert their position as a young and growing side.
Through trials, such as Stynes cancer, many find they grow in both their personal strength and also in their faith. The Bible mirrors this experience in saying: "we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
The Christian faith grows in times of trials because it is focused on what Jesus has done through his own death and resurrection. The Christian, therefore, has a certain hope in trials because God has given us the ultimate Coach, the Holy Spirit, to guide and protect us.