Melbourne co-captain Jack Trengove relinquishes captaincy to focus on playing from 2014
MELBOURNE midfielder Jack Trengove has stepped down as co-captain of the Demons.
Trengove was somewhat of a surprise choice when appointed alongside fellow youngster Jack Grimes at the start of 2012.
Like his teammates, he has struggled to find his best form since carrying the leadership tag, with the Demons announcing on Wednesday - the day the club's younger players returned to training - that the 22-year-old would be standing down from the role.
Senior coach Paul Roos believes Trengove's decision will ultimately help him become the player he desires to be.
Trengove, 22, has largely failed to capture the form that led to him being taken with pick 2 in the 2009 national draft.
Roos watched the tapes of Trengove from his days with Sturt in the 2009 SANFL finals series and knows the talent is there.
"Jack and I had a number of discussions and it came down to him wanting to concentrate on his footy," Roos said on Wednesday morning.
"It has been a tough period for him and the club. My obligation is to make him the best possible player he can be.
"At 22 he wants to become a serious AFL player and he has the talent to do so. We want to get the ball into his hands as much as we can.
"I think it is best for him now not to be captain because it's all about him becoming a really good player."
Trengove said his decision was all about getting back to his best form.
"After a lot of thought and continual talks with Roosy, I have decided that I will not put my hand up for captaincy this year," Trengove told the Demons' website.
"The main focus going forward is obviously showing improvement as a team and getting success for the Melbourne Football Club.
"The best way that I can individually contribute to this is fulfilling my potential as a player. At 22 years of age and entering my fifth year in the game, it is important that I start making big inroads.
"The life lessons and experiences that I have seen over the last two years have been invaluable. There is no doubt they will make me a better player long term."
In recent days Roos has said he planned to act as a human shield for the inevitable criticism coming Melbourne's way as he sets about revitalising the AFL club.
Roos, who led Sydney to their drought-breaking 2005 premiership, says one of the biggest lures of coaching the Demons was the sheer magnitude of the task.
Melbourne won just two of 22 games last season to finish 17th. While Roos is confident he has the off-field group in place to turn things around, he says how quickly that happens is largely up to the players.
In the meantime, he intends to stand in the firing line of impatient fans or media.
"The worse it sounded the more exciting it got, I guess," Roos told the Demons' website, when asked what attracted him to the job. "I see it as a senior coaching role but I see it more as a leadership role and driving the coaching group and driving the player group.
"We're going to cop some whacks in the head from the media and fans and all those sorts of things.
"Probably that's my main role, just to absorb that for the players and absorb that for the other coaches so they can get on with their job.
"In a strange way that's probably the exciting part.
"It is a challenge, I know that, but probably to shield everyone else from what's about to happen."
Roos said Melbourne had assembled a strong group of coaches, fitness staff and recruiters.
Even still, he said improvement would largely depend on how hard players worked and pushed each other.
"This is not passing the buck, but the coaches can only do so much," Roos said.
"We can hopefully set some high standards, we get them fit and set a game plan that we think is going to win.
"Then, to be perfectly frank, it's really up to the players."
- with AAP