The Demons have struggled to liftout this season.
The Demons have struggled to liftout this season.

‘No panic’: Demons boss backs Goodwin

GLEN Bartlett has backed in his football department to turn around a disastrous season, adamant the club will push for finals until all hope is lost.

The Melbourne president said there would be no thought given to shutting down injured players with early surgeries, adamant the season was not yet lost.

He said the club did not need a review of its operations or football department despite the deeply disappointing 3-9 start to the year.

Bartlett said the last 10 games of the year would be a test of everyone at the club, throwing his support behind coach Simon Goodwin and football boss Josh Mahoney.

"There is definitely no panic. I am really confident we will turn it around," he said.

"It is frustrating not just for our supporters but everyone involved, including myself.

"Particularly the last four to six weeks where we have played the kind of footy we can we are just not getting the results for effort.

"But I have spent a bit of time in the footy department, which I hadn't before, spent a day down there and they are working hard every day to get better. I am confident things will turn."

Demons coach Simon Goodwin.
Demons coach Simon Goodwin.

Melbourne must spend the last 10 weeks making a series of calls on uncontracted players including Nathan Jones, Jeff Garlett and Jay Kennedy-Harris, with Jordan Lewis to retire at year's end.

It must also decide whether to stick with out-of-form tall Tom McDonald after the bye against Fremantle, with AFL legend Jon Brown urging the Demons to play him in the VFL.

According to the AFL's official player ratings, ex-Demon Jesse Hogan has suffered the biggest drop in form in the competition this season, with McDonald second and Jack Viney fourth.

Bartlett said McDonald had the runs on the board to turn around his form, adamant the Demons wouldn't be warehousing injured players or playing the kids.

"It happens to everyone at points of your career. It is a numbers game and if the more pressure goes on to fewer it has a knock-on effect.

Tom McDonald has dropped down the player rankings. Picture: AAP
Tom McDonald has dropped down the player rankings. Picture: AAP

"It happens to all great players, he will work through it and come back strongly

"It's a great test for us. You find out a lot about people when we are getting tested the way we are at the moment.

"As far as I am concerned the year is not over. We have 10 games left and we expect to put our best team out on the park every week and maximise what we can out of this year, and until it's mathematically impossible to make it. Even then the philosophy is the same, we want to finish as strongly as we can and have an influence as to who makes up the top eight."

Bartlett said the club, led by new chief executive Gary Pert, was now bulletproof to on-field fortunes, about to crack through 52,000 members and with a new investment committee considering long-term financial opportunities.

Goodwin signed a new contract in the off-season and is under no pressure despite the first dip in fortunes in five seasons.

"Categorically from the board across the club we are 1000 per cent behind our footy program and Josh and Goody and it's a real test now to really respond," he said.

"It's a ruthless competition and these things happen. We will come through it and we will be stronger and better for it."

BIGGEST DROP IN AFL PLAYER RATINGS 2018 TO 2019

Jesse Hogan (Fremantle) -59 per cent

Tom McDonald (Melbourne) -52 per cent

Ben Stratton (Hawthorn) - 48 per cent

Jack Viney (Melbourne) -40 per cent

Tom Lynch (Richmond) -37 per cent

Jack Henry (Geelong) -35 per cent

Callum Sinclair (Sydney) -35 per cent

Jordan Murdoch (Gold Coast) -33 per cent

Jack Redden (West Coast) -32 per cent

Tom Cole (West Coast) -31 per cent

BIGGEST RISE IN PLAYER RATINGS 2018 TO 2019

Jacob Weitering (Carlton) +72 per cent

Darcy Tucker (Fremantle) +64 per cent

David Mackay (Adelaide) +56 per cent

Tom Rockliff (Port Adelaide) +51 per cent

Ricky Henderson (Hawthorn) +51 per cent

Jasper Pittard (North Melbourne) +46 per cent

Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane) +45 per cent

Dane Rampe (Sydney) +44 per cent

Gary Rohan (Geelong) +42 per cent

Dan Houston (Port Adelaide) +42 per cent