Roos just might be Messiah after all

IT WASN'T getting anywhere near the stage of nailing him to a cross, but even his most devoted followers may have had some doubts about The Messiah's reign at Melbourne three rounds into the 2014 season.

After suffering losses to St Kilda, West Coast and GWS, it appeared as though not even the hand of Paul Roos would be enough to stop the Demons falling further into the abyss.

But Roos has shown since then that he should still be likened more to Jesus than Brian, by turning water into wine, well, Melbourne into a competitive outfit anyway, and resurrecting the fading hopes of the Dees' faithful.

It's the great measure of a coach - to be able to take charge of a struggling club, especially one with limited off-field resources to boot, and drag it out of the mire.

Roos is doing just that, with Melbourne seemingly rising from the dead, and up to 14th on the ladder having won three of its past six games - more than it won throughout 2013.

There is still a long way to go, but Roos is working from the back, creating a defensive unit that opposition teams are finding very difficult to crack.

It's what he did in the mid-2000s at Sydney, when then AFL chief Andrew Demetriou famously criticised the Swans for playing unattractive footy. It won them games though - and a premiership (2005).

Staggeringly, Melbourne is on track to record the biggest ever drop in 'average points against' between seasons - down from 122 to a 47-year low of 80. Only Fremantle, Sydney and Collingwood have conceded fewer goals than the Dees in 2014.

It lost the inside-50m count 69-36 to Essendon last week, and while it was helped by some sloppy kicking going forward by the Bombers, Melbourne recorded a club-record 52 rebounds - and a win by a point.

And the work of the backline this year has largely been done without the player considered their biggest and best defender, James Frawley.

Instead, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe and Neville Jetta have all been reborn as defenders with incredible effect, Dunn, in particular, a revelation, last week gathering the most rebounds (16) in a game since 2006. Alongside the reliable Colin Garland, Jack Grimes and Tom McDonald, you can call them Roosy's "Back Six Apostles".

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