Howe's confidence will grow in defence

JEREMY Howe believes his move to defence will help turn him into a more well-rounded footballer.

Jeremy Howe

Jeremy Howe

The 23-year-old from Dodges Ferry, who made his name as a high-flying forward, has made the shift to the backline with some positive results, including two games of 23 disposals after he was ineffective in attack in the first fortnight.

``It was more of a move to get a bit of touch in games and more so for my confidence,'' Howe told  The Examiner  this week.

``I have been swung back forward again since, but I really had been playing more consistent footy in the backline, so I imagine I'll be down there for the next few weeks at least.

``I really don't mind playing that high half-back role as you can see everything unfolding in front of you and you get to set up the play from defence. 

``Being a forward previously you kind of get the sense that you have an edge on your opponent as you know what they're trying to do and being able to read the play when it is coming down to your defence.''

Howe, who was recruited from Hobart in the State League in 2010 with pick 33 in the national draft, said it was an enjoyable, exciting and new experience.

There is one key lesson he will take back to attack if and when that time comes.

``You realise how much the defence is actually under the pump when we're not performing in the forward line.

``I am now on the receiving end of that rather than being the cause of it, so it's definitely an eye-opener, and we have got better at that, but can still improve more.

``It has helped me this year for sure, as I've been able to find more of the footy, and the way footy is played now you need to be able to play multiple roles.''

But the one negative from the move is an aerial one.

There are now more restrictions on Howe going for his trademark ``hangers'', as if it does not come off in defence, the consequences are far more deadly.

``While it still applies that if I feel confident enough to go for the mark I will go for it, but I'm still finding that balance between marking it and spoiling, but that will come with time.

``I'm not trying to go away from taking those marks, but it is more about knuckling down and playing my role.

``Because it all happens so quick up there, you can't really think about it, but I always feel like I jump at the ball like no-one is there, even if someone is there, and that's always been a natural instinct.''

The 63-gamer described Melbourne, which last week secured a monumental victory over Adelaide, as a ``calm, controlled and professional'' environment under the coaching of Paul Roos.

It has a chance to do something quite rare in recent times, win successive games, when it faces the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night at the MCG.

``We're really after two wins in a row. We're going to go in very confident and we really want to finish off well before we go into the bye.''

Howe is one of two Tasmanians at Melbourne with Wynyard defender Colin Garland, who has been getting match fit in the VFL following preseason ankle surgery.

``I've been playing his type of role, on multiple (talls and smalls) players, so he's one I can feed off and we are better when he plays, so the sooner we can get him back the better we will be.''


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