The Demons are excited to add Kade Kolodjashinij’s polish to the midfield. Picture: Getty Images
The Demons are excited to add Kade Kolodjashinij’s polish to the midfield. Picture: Getty Images

Kolodjashnij set to deliver for Dees

IT is a dynamite midfield which lost the contested possession battle only twice last season.

But in the cold hard light of Melbourne's crushing preliminary final finish, Demons' chiefs knew they had a problem in the engine room.

They already have enough ravenous blue-chip ball-winners and clearance brutes.

But what the Demons needed as much as anything this exchange period was a lick of cream on the outside.

Some run and dash in the middle.

 

And while the move to snare Gold Coast's Kade Kolodjashnij virtually for free in the trade period barely caused a ripple in the build-up, it's the pick-up that has the Melbourne coaching staff as excited as Steve May's arrival.

Kolodjashnij is the outside running machine the club has been looking for to race the ball up the ground, once they have dug it out of the clinches.

And he's set to give the Demons another gear in the middle from Round 1 next season.

Steven May was the Demons’ big-ticket signing... Picture: AAP
Steven May was the Demons’ big-ticket signing... Picture: AAP

But when the Suns insisted on a top-six pick for their co-captain May, Kolodjashnij seemed to be stitched into the deal as a bonus.

The Dees, unexpectedly, paid nothing extra for the 195cm wingman, and are glad he is over his recurring neck-related concussion dramas.

Kolodjashnij, 23, suffered debilitating symptoms including blurred vision and headaches after a series of head knocks over the past two seasons left his career at the crossroads.

But the 78-gamer has received the all-clear from specialists to play on.

Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said the Demons had tracked him closely since he went pick No. 5 in the 2013 draft, and were delighted to swoop over the past fortnight in talks with the Suns.

... But the Demons believe Kade Kolodjashnij could be just as important. Picture: Getty Images
... But the Demons believe Kade Kolodjashnij could be just as important. Picture: Getty Images

"He was a real focus for us, probably a missing link for us we think, that run through our midfield," Mahoney said.

"But Kade is able to play wing, halfback, he is an elite runner.

"We think he's going to be a really good player for us because he's exactly what we need.

"We have got some really good stoppage players, but we think to have someone on the outside who can run and kick the ball, we think he's really going to add to our midfield.

The Demons are set to dominate the hard ball battle again next season with Clayton OIiver, Jack Viney and Angus Brayshaw leading the charge alongside superstar ruckman Max Gawn.

They lost the contested possession only to the Bulldogs in Round 17 and to the Eagles in the preliminary final blowout this year, and will take it up to the Magpies and Giants next season as the best midfield combination in the game.

We saw Kolodjashnij shine when he finished second in Gold Coast's best and fairest in only his second season

While his form has ebbed and flowed since then, his past two years have been a virtual wipe-out because of various injury issues and the concussion worries.

"It was an issue for him earlier in the season but he was able to get on top of that and it is no longer a problem for him," Mahoney said.

Now, Kolodjashnij will step out with the rest of his teammates on the first day of the preseason as the Demons look to break the longest premiership drought in the game.