Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says his side still would’ve lost to Collingwood on Monday even if All-Australian defender Steven May was playing, instead lamenting the breaking down of his side’s method.
The Demons on Monday slipped to second on the ladder after going down to Collingwood at the MCG, despite leading by 22 points early in the third quarter.
Melbourne was again without May, but this time due to a club-imposed suspension after he brawled with teammate Jake Melksham and drank while under concussion protocols at a Prahran restaurant last weekend.
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Goodwin acknowledged how significant May’s absence was, but stresses it wasn’t the difference between his side winning and losing.
“We need to get him back in our team, we need to get him back playing really well and get our team really cohesive again,” Goodwin told reporters. “It‘s not surprising that when you don’t have cohesion, teams can struggle so we need to get that back.
“I think any player that misses the way that Steven’s missed would feel a level of responsibility. But that‘s what our culture is about. We’ll address the issues when they come forward, we’ll learn from them, we’ll use them as opportunities and Steven will learn a lot out of what’s gone on in the last week.
“I don’t think Steven playing today would have changed the result.”
Goodwin said Collingwood were more efficient across the final two quarters at scoring from turnovers.
“We gave ourselves opportunity, but clearly that turnover game went their way in the second half,” he said.
“Our connection forward of centre wasn’t to the level. They mark intercepted the ball and that was really the story of the game.
“I thought we played with great heart, but our method was off – and in the end, you need all those things in sync together to get results against teams that are playing good footy.”
Asked whether the lack of method was due to players not executing the coaches’ instructions properly or whether the coaching group now had to rethink their plans, Goodwin said: “It’s a combination of all that. We’re looking at it every week as coaches and players. We work incredibly hard to get our game really cohesive.
“There’s parts that are going OK and there’s other parts that we need to work on. So we’re not going to sit here and wallow. We’re going to continue to work hard, be a footy club that’s in a really good position in terms of the AFL season and we’re going to work our way back into some really good form.”
After 17 straight wins – including the 2021 flag – the Demons have now lost their past three games to finals contenders in Fremantle, Sydney and Collingwood.
Goodwin said the club would “embrace” the challenging period.
“We look at all those situations as opportunities. Yeah it was a big week for our footy club and we would love to walk away from here with a with a victory and changed the week that was. But the case was we didn’t,” he said.
“We played with heart, we played with spirit, we had a group of players that wanted to do well for their footy club – but our method wasn‘t quite to the level. That’s AFL footy.”