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AFL world reacts to Melbourne Demons coach bombshell

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The AFL world has been stunned by shocking allegations involving Melbourne manager Simon Goodwin on the eve of the AFL premiership in 2022.

Tuesday morning, thesun herald reported that the Melbourne board had been forced to investigate allegations of alleged behavioral issues by Goodwin from 2018 to early 2021, including drinking, gambling and workplace bullying.

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The Sun Herald also reported that several Demons managers were so alarmed by the allegations that they discussed the possibility of sidelining Goodwin before the 2021 season – before his team won the premiership.

Goodwin’s allegations of drinking and gambling with players also caught the attention of AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, who reportedly described Goodwin’s behavior as “crazy” during a crisis meeting.

Simon Goodwin and skipper Max Gawn on the podium. Photo by Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

Talk to NSR breakfast Tuesday morning, sun herald AFL reporter Jon Ralph said Melbourne could not sweep Goodwin’s allegations under the rug, suggesting the club needed to ensure there was no relapse.

“It’s an absolutely amazing story,” Ralph said.

“If these allegations had come to light before last season… you would say Simon Goodwin’s position was untenable, and yet he is the Premier’s coach and he has never coached better.

“Melbourne might well say, ‘He had huge issues which we had to advise him on and which he has since dealt with.’

“To see it there in the club documents… it’s extraordinary. Simon Goodwin read it thinking, “Yeah, okay, all that stuff is terrible, but look what I just did.” I just held the cup. I’m about to unfurl a Prime Minister’s Flag in 42 days.”

“I think Melbourne probably have a lot of questions to answer today, as does the AFL in terms of their conduct.

“We would like to know what the resolution of this resolution was.”

Former Adelaide star Josh Jenkins echoed Ralph’s remarks on SEN breakfast. “There’s a bit to digest and make up your mind,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approaches this, if they kind of stop it and say it’s in the past and our performance has spoken or needs to honor that with an appropriate response.

“Because they won the flag, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to the story. You can’t just be accused of bullying at work and do whatever you want in the workplace, but because you win, it doesn’t matter and it’s all over. That’s not how it works.

“The fact that the leader, Gil (McLachlan), felt the need to step in…and even went so far as to say, ‘You have to consider firing him if his behavior warrants it.’ It’s strong enough.

“The fact that Gillon said he was in the pub to gamble and drink is not a big deal to me. I’ve seen that before in my time, a manager trying to bond and have a good time with his players and showing that they’re human too. It’s not a massive story. But the fact that the AFL chief stepped in and said you need to think about it before you take him out, that’s rather important.

Simon Goodwin, Demons head coach. Photo by Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia

Ex-Melbourne star David Schwarz also expressed concern on Tuesday over the alarming allegations.

“For them to watch it, Simon and his behavior had to be seriously concerned,” Schwarz told 3AW.

“He had a miserable run with it (game) and putting it in front of vulnerable young men…I don’t think that’s a great look.

“I think he needs to distance himself from that kind of behavior.

“I don’t mind them having a beer, but I think sitting around for a long time and playing with players… there has to be a separation.

“He’s their boss.

Goodwin was named 2021 Coach of the Year at last year’s AFL Coaches Association awards after winning a premiership with the Demons.

Melbourne beat the Western Bulldogs 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66) in the AFL Grand Final at Optus Stadium in Perth to clinch their first flag since 1964.

Goodwin’s gambling led to him being suspended as a player in 2007 after placing four bets involving AFL matches totaling $16,024.58.