Lever words ‘reek of self importance’
AFL great Malcolm Blight has warned Jake Lever should choose his words more wisely, saying the Demons recruit's words on his homecoming "reek of self importance".
Lever was yesterday part of six-man player group that fronted media as his club announced a new major sponsor and unveiled its clash strip for 2018.
The star defender, whose off-season trade to Melbourne from the Adelaide Crows had a bitter fallout, beamed about his new club and his love of being back in his home state - again close to family and friends.
But Blight, an AFL Legend who coached the Crows to back-to-back premierships, said the young gun needed to tread warily.
"It just reeks of self-importance," Blight said on Sportsday radio.
"I reckon he's got to be more humble or choose his words better. The future will be what it's going to be, but I had a saying: 'The footy god can sometimes get ya'.
"And I just hope that he goes on and has a successful career at Melbourne ... Just choose your words better than that."
Lever said he was relishing his new life as a Demon and couldn't wait to lock horns with his former Adelaide teammates in hostile territory.
Lever has made such a strong impact in his first preseason that the gun defender is already being strongly considered for a position in the Demons' leadership group.
The Herald Sun can also reveal the club's new 2018 clash jumper, which replaces the white with a more traditional red and blue design.
Coach Simon Goodwin yesterday lauded Lever's impact at training and the ferocious competitiveness which helped make the 21-year-old one of the best intercepting defenders in the game.
Melbourne handed over two first-round picks for the star rebounder, believing he could add a missing link to the Dees' bid to play finals for the first time in 12 years.
Lever will take on Adelaide in Alice Springs in Round 10, but the brilliant defender said his return to Adelaide Oval in Round 19 was already in his diary.
"It's interesting when you come up against them, that will be the fun part," Lever told the Herald Sun.
"I'm the type of person that I can't wait for it. I have already pencilled it in, Round 19 over at Adelaide Oval.
"The crowd will be a factor as well and, look, I'm sure I'm going to get lots of boos.
"It's just part and parcel of the industry and I love a challenge and I'm looking forward to playing on some of the guys I was close mates with."
Melbourne parted with two first-round draft picks (over two years) to secure Lever on a lucrative deal.
The Calder Cannons product said the bold trade move already felt like the right call for himself and his partner.
"Absolutely, I can't explain how much of a great decision it has been not only for my football, but just the off-field side of things," he said.
"I guess when you make the decision the family always come into play, but it's your mates and partner's mates as well, as they don't get to come over to Adelaide and see you like your family does.
"For me, to be back around best mates and my group of mates, it's so good just to be able to go out and get a feed together."
Lever said he had no hard feelings against the Crows despite the club making its disappointment in his decision clear.
Lever's manager Alex McDonald said Adelaide discouraged him from attending last year's best and fairest event after the Grand Final loss to Richmond.
Lever said he still had many close mates at Adelaide but was loving his new life at Melbourne and looked forward to a productive year on the field.
Melbourne will attempt to break an 11-year finals drought this season.
Lever said the early signs at training were encouraging.
"It's been fantastic," Lever said.
"There is such a talented group and some of the stuff that has been done at training you just almost have to shake your head and think you were dreaming, especially playing on the forwards and when you see the things they do sometimes.
"You will be happy they're on your team on a Saturday afternoon at the MCG when hopefully they are doing the same things."
Melbourne has signed insurance company Zurich as its new co-principal partner for three years. Zurich will appear on the front of the Melbourne jersey.