Jack Viney of the Demons runs with the ball during the round one AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide Power at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Jack Viney of the Demons runs with the ball during the round one AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide Power at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 31, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Viney one of AFL's star sons following in fathers footsteps

OUT of the deep dark abyss that the Melbourne Football Club finds itself in, one light is shining.

Jack Viney made his debut last week in one of the Demons' worst displays in recent times - and, in an indictment on the rest of the side, was arguably its best player, gathering 22 disposals.

The 18-year-old then showed that his mature body was matched by a mature head, addressing his teammates in the rooms following their capitulation to Port Adelaide at the MCG

Happy to talk up one of the few positives on a otherwise nightmare opening, embattled coach Mark Neeld explained that his prized youngster had, "if it's possible when you play your first game ... probably been a Melbourne person for longer than anyone else in that room".

Viney's heart, of course, beats true for the red and blue - and he appears prepared to bleed for his club even if no one else does.

Dad Todd is a former Demons skipper and member of the club's team of the century - and was briefly the caretaker coach after Dean Bailey was sacked in 2011.

At the rate the Demons are going, Viney Jnr might be both captain and coach in a few weeks.

Viney's desire to be a Demon like his old man was evident last year.

When it was suggested the club may not be willing to use its first draft pick on him - he declared that he would "do everything in my power to make them regret that decision".

In the end, the Demons only had to give up pick 26 for him as a father-son selection, which left them free to choose Jimmy Toumpas at No.4 overall.

While we're only one game into their careers, Demons fans are now quietly hoping their club doesn't regret the decision to select Toumpas over Viney's best mate, Ollie Wines, who with Viney equalled the record for most contested possessions in an AFL debut (16) ... but that's another story.

Viney is the latest member of what has become a star-studded group of current sons of guns who are giving their old men a run for their money in the performance stakes.

Two of them will be the headline acts tomorrow at the SCG - and neither will be representing the club their dear old dads played for.

Gary Ablett won a Brownlow Medal with Geelong, and if Gold Coast manages to win six to eight games this season, a distinct possibility, pencil him in for another.

While we would never have thought it possible, there is now healthy debate as to just which Ablett is better - senior or junior.

What's for certain is that they are the greatest father-son combination of all-time.

The Suns will be hoping Gazza Jnr plays 100 games with them, which will mean if there is indeed a 'Gary the Third', they will have a chance of securing him as a 'father-son'.

Josh Kennedy could be his biggest rival for this year's highest individual honour, after going from bit-part Hawthorn player to Sydney midfield monster - 24 of his 28 possessions last week against GWS contested, a round-high.

The Bulldogs' future, meanwhile, will be built around father-son selections Tom Liberatore, Mitch Wallis (both drafted in 2010) and Ayce Cordy (2008).

Though he had some off-field issues last season, little 'Libba' is a star in the making.

He doesn't quite have his dad Tony's mouth, but does possess his ball-winning ability, highlighted by his 28 touches last week, 16 of them contested.

Essendon have only used five picks on 'father-sons' since the rule was introduced in 1988, but, got incredible value out of them.

Like Ablett, Jobe Watson achieved last year what father Timmy was never able to do - win a Brownlow.

Then there's Dustin Fletcher, who at 37 will play game number 367 this weekend after dad Ken made 264 appearances for the Bombers.

And with the almost 38-year-old showing no sign of slowing down, he may end up playing alongside his own son Max, 15.

 

MOST GAMES BY CURRENT FATHER-SON SELECTIONS

Dustin Fletcher ESS 366 games
(Dad Ken Fletcher)

Jonathan Brown BL 231 games
(Dad Brian Brown)

Gary Ablett Jnr GEE 192 games
(Dad Gary Ablett Snr)

Travis Cloke COLL 175 games
(Dad David Cloke)

Jobe Watson ESS 155 games
(Dad Tim Watson)

Jarrad Waite CAR 154 games
(Dad Vin Waite)

Heath Shaw COLL 154 games
(Dad Ray Shaw)

Brett Evert PA 150 games
(Russell Ebert)

Tom Hawkins GEE 102 games
(Dad Jack Hawkins)

Rhyce Shaw COLL 94 games
(Dad Ray Shaw)

* Ablett has since played 41 games for Gold Coast, R Shaw 96 for Sydney.


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