AFL grand final: Why Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin had pre-game tears ahead of greatest moment
Melbourne’s premiership coach Simon Goodwin has revealed a crisis after his team’s disastrous 2019 campaign, describing the game as “getting hold of me”.
It forced Goodwin to completely review how he went about things and set him on a path that led to the breaking of a 57-year-old premiership drought.
Much was made about the work the Dees and their coach have done off-field both before and after their 74-point demolition of the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.
At the pre-grand final press conference, skipper Max Gawn said that while he had reached out to experienced premiership players like Jordan Lewis for advice, he was determined to do things “my way” and he was encouraging his teammates to do the same thing.
They were words echoed by the coach after the game.
“I certainly questioned myself at the end of 2019. I could feel the game was getting hold of me,” Goodwin said.
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“The pressure and stress. I was investing a lot. It was wearing me down emotionally.”
Goodwin said he sought advice and guidance from people “away from the game and away from footy that were just different”.
“They worked with me around my energy, what to give energy to, what to let go of and just to be me.,” he said.
“That was the most important part. I wasn’t being me.
“We made some significant shifts last year as a footy club. We won six of the last nine games on the way home and that has just transferred to this year. I got back to smiling got back to loving the game, having fun, enjoying what I do.
“Yes, you are under pressure, but I wanted to do it the way I wanted to do it which is believing in my philosophies and how I think the game should be played, investing in my players with their relationships and back them in. I am fortunate to have a great group of people that I work with and that is what it takes to be successful.”
On Thursday morning, two days before one of the biggest events in his sporting life, Goodwin drove to Yanchep, lay on the beach and then went to the pub for a “parma and a pot”.
He allowed himself to think of winning and losing and what the outcomes would mean.
“I considered all of those things. It is very natural for an individual to think about the loss and it is very natural for your mind to move forward to the victory as well, and I thought about all of that,” he said.
“I was reflecting on where our club has come from. The impact of our leaders, our footy department and how they have taken our club. The amount of people back home and the support of our members and the past players.
“The messages that were sent about how proud they are of our footy club. It was a really good piece of reflection but this is what really brings it all together.
“It brings a smile to my face. I had tears even before the game. I was laying on my bed crying and thinking just how proud I was of the group.
“I spoke to them in the team meeting and I got a little bit emotional there because of how far they have come . Two years ago we were 17th.
“It is a long way back to the top and to play the way we played is a big rise.”
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