Newly minted Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says the Demons are poised for success after clawing back the respect of their AFL rivals under predecessor Paul Roos.
Goodwin on Wednesday was officially unveiled as the Demons’ new senior coach after a two-year apprenticeship as an assistant under Roos.
The dual AFL premiership player and former Adelaide captain is contracted to serve in the top job for at least the next three years and believes it won’t be long before Melbourne are playing finals football again after a decade outside the top eight.
But with the Demons’ tanking saga still fresh in the memories of plenty of supporters, Goodwin knows there remains work to do to create a winning culture at the club.
“Talent won’t be enough,” Goodwin said.
“We’ve got to unconditionally ingrain our winning behaviours in this football club. We are on a long journey and we have got a long way to go.”
When Goodwin arrived at Melbourne at the end of 2014 after working as an assistant at Essendon, the side had won just four games for the season.
The Demons claimed 10 victories this year to finish 11th on the ladder, with onballer Jack Viney and ruckman Max Gawn enjoying breakout years and future stars Jesse Hogan, Christian Petracca and Dom Tyson continuing to improve.
But the young side’s inconsistency was clear in the final month of the season, with wins over Hawthorn and Port Adelaide followed by comprehensive losses to Carlton and Geelong.
“We knew at some stage in the season that our journey at the end of the year was going to get tough, just due to fatigue,” Goodwin said.
“There’s no doubt, the last couple of weeks, we saw a significant drop-off but we’re not reading too much into it.”
Demons chief Peter Jackson said the strong relationship between Roos and Goodwin showed a coaching succession plan could work effectively, alluding to the tension created at Collingwood when Nathan Buckley took over from Mick Malthouse.
Goodwin sought advice about taking over from John Longmire, who led Sydney to a premiership in 2012 replacing Roos as coach of the Swans.
Describing his coaching style as built “from the contest out”, Goodwin said he had been inspired by the improvement West Coast coach Adam Simpson, Adelaide’s Don Pyke and Carlton’s Brendon Bolton had been able to generate at their respective teams.
“I think the immediate impact those guys have had is substantial for their footy clubs,” Goodwin said.
“Whether it’s next year or whether it’s the years to come, we’ll see a significant jump in this football club very shortly.”
The Demons will focus on recruiting players through the draft but Goodwin confirmed Bombers defender Michael Hibberd remained a priority trade target.