‘Suck it up’: Moment Demons’ season imploded


The Demons are copping criticism from a couple of greats of the game, including former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon, over the fashion in which their AFL campaign came crashing down.

Not only is the club under fire for its finals defeats to Collingwood and Carlton, Lyon and Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes disagree with the on-field conduct of some players throughout the season and commentary out of the club.

Central to the backlash is the Angus Brayshaw incident and the fallout of Brayden Maynard’s knockout hit, which marred the qualifying final between Melbourne and Collingwood and triggered a relentless public discussion about the league’s stance on player welfare.

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While many people saw Maynard’s hit as a “footy act” and therefore an incident that should not result in punishment, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said the Magpie had failed in his “duty of care”.

The public discussion that raged in the days leading up to Melbourne’s semi-final against Carlton was fuelled to some extent by the remarks of Goodwin and his players — and Lyon and Cornes believe the fuel they poured on the fire compromised their premiership bid.

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“Really strong on the opposition, not as strong on his own team. You just wonder whether that mindset infiltrated this,” Cornes said on Nine’s Footy Classified.

“I haven’t seen a meltdown from a player like Kozzie Pickett melted down on Friday night for a long time.

“There’s the undisciplined stuff off the ball, there’s not knowing the rules, [like] 50-metre penalties being given away and running through the protected area.

“This is a senior player [Clayton Oliver] who doesn’t understand the ‘back to the nine’ rule and he’s still complaining.

“There’s pretty mild players like Tom Sparrow giving away reversals at a critical stage of the game.

“He’s highly critical of the opposition’s lack of discipline, yet they produce one of the more ill-discipline performances I’ve seen in a final for a long time.”

Pickett’s capitulation referred to by Cornes saw the Demons livewire jumper punch Mitch McGovern, costing his team a shot at goal, before hitting Patrick Cripps high. The hit on Cripps resulted in a one-match ban.

“A strong belief from senior figures still a week on is that the Angus Brayshaw furore derailed their finals pitch, that the players were shellshocked to witness Brayshaw concussed and laid out cold,” Lyon said on Fox Footy’s On the Couch.

“So Jacob van Rooyen was suspended because he was trying to basically physically intimidate the opposition.

“The Kossie Pickett first-half brain fades this week, him trying to impose himself.

“Some would say it’s a cop-out, but it is something senior figures have expressed.

“There are people that feel like they just were discombobulated by it.”

Lyon said he wanted his beloved club to “suck it up” and “reload”, and told the Demons to “stop feeling sorry for yourself and go again”.

“You can make excuses everywhere,” added the 226-game Melbourne great.

“It’s hard to back up again after a premiership. They’ve backed up twice in a row. Top-four twice. I want you to back up again and put yourself in a position again.

“The thing I want most is you suck it up, cop all of this coming at ya … and you don’t feel sorry for yourself and you reload. That’s what Simon Goodwin needs to do with this group.”

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