Why Melbourne can turn it around sooner than you think, writes Paul Roos
There could be a lot less frowning at Melbourne next year. Paul Roos writes why the Dees can turn it around. Picture: Harman Stephen Source: Herald Sun
PETER Jackson’s interview on On The Couch on Monday night was one of the most forthright and honest I have been involved in.
They say in order to solve your problems you first must identify exactly what they are and Demons fans should have faith in their CEO as he seems to have a very good handle on the problems that exist at the club.
He was certainly very clear that he wanted an experienced coach to take the reigns next year and I agree with him because to roll the dice again would be too big a risk.
That is certainly not to say there is not another Ken Hinkley in the assistant coaching ranks, it is simply must harder to identify who they are and the Demons cannot make a mistake.
I agree also with Peter’s assessment that an experienced coach brings immediate hope and that is what the fans are looking for at the moment.
Then there is the fact it is easier for Peter to assess the strengths and weaknesses of coaches such as Rodney Eade, Mark Williams, Neil Craig, Dean Laidley, etc because all he needs to do is lock himself in a room and make as many phone calls as possible.
They must get a teaching coach first and foremost. A coach that can nurture a young playing group that is clearly down on confidence. They must have a game plan that is consistent and sellable to the players.
But, most importantly, the coach must be a great communicator personable, honest and able to drive standards for the whole football club.
One thing a senior coach would be looking at however before he makes the decision to take the job is stability within the football club.
Club politics must stop and anyone looking for the presidency or running for the board should put the club and the AFL’s needs ahead of their own.
FILL IN THE BLANKS: PAUL ROOS’ MELBOURNE TEAM FOR ROUND 1 NEXT YEAR
B: Frawley Garland
HB: Grimes McDonald
C: Blease? Jones Watts
HF:Sylvia Dawes Hogan
F: Clark Howe
R:J amar? Trengrove Viney
? = can they be a consistent AFL player?
If Alan Stockdale genuinely believes he can work closely with Peter and the AFL and has the club’s best interests at heart he could be man for the job. However, the club needs to appoint a president before it appoints a coach.
Demons fans will want to know immediately how soon the club’s on-field fortunes can change. This is where the challenge begins for the new coach.
Unfortunately, for Demons fans, I would suggest the new coach won’t be able to provide a satisfactory answer at his first press conference.
Most of the list will need to be closely looked at by before he can make an assessment of how quickly things can turn around.
The biggest question on everyone’s lips is: is Melbourne’s on-field performance a reflection of poor recruiting or poor development?
If you dissect the list there are clearly some strengths and weaknesses.
The Demons look to have three good tall defenders in James Frawley, Colin Garland and Tom McDonald.
As we know, defence wins premierships and there are many teams who would love to start with these three players.
Equally, the forward line could consist of Mitch Clark, Chris Dawes and Jesse Hogan. Certainly, at their best, these three would trouble opposition defenders.
We know what Clark and Dawes can deliver and, by all accounts, young Hogan is destined to be a star.
The midfield is clearly a major concern. At the moment you have probably Nathan Jones as the only midfielder who would walk into most sides. As important as it is to have great defenders to stop the opposition scoring, the main defensive and offensive weapon is a hard running deep midfield.
Your mids will create defensive pressure and dictate how many opportunities Clark, Dawes and Hogan will get.
However, it is not all doom and gloom because the current list has three potential stars.
Jack Trengrove was a star leading up to the draft and I still fully believe he could become a genuine elite midfielder.
Jack Viney and Jimmy Toumpas are highly rated kids and have already shown glimpses of what they could be in the future.
Sam Blease is another. Has he been underdeveloped or is he not up to AFL level? You would love to give him the opportunity to play multiple games in a row and find out.
If the Dees were to be granted a priority pick they could address their midfield weaknesses quickly. That being the case I would look to trade either Pick 1 or 3 for the best midfielders available.
There are many talented players on the list who have not reached their potential. In no particular order they are Colin Sylvia, Jack Grimes, Aaron Davey, Mark Jamar and Luke Tapscott. Over the past two seasons we have also seen some very good games from Max Gawn, Jack Fitzpatrick, Dean Terlich and the very exciting Jeremy Howe … and then there is former No.1 draft pick Jack Watts.
I was there the day Jack played his first game. I have never seen a fanfare like it and is it any wonder he has never lived up to that hype?
It was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever seen from a football club in handling a young football player.
Make no mistake, the Demons need to keep hold of Watts because he is incredibly talented and still could be a star.
He needs a coach that will find a position for him, play him in that position and teach him what it takes to be a genuine AFL player.
We must also remember that even premiership teams have players that are not stars but play a role and play it well. I’m sure those players exist at Melbourne.
Clearly some smart trading and drafting is needed, but if the Demons get everything right they could have a competitive team next year