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Dees chief defends coaching appointment


Will Brodie

Melbourne President Don McLardy.

Melbourne President Don McLardy. Photo: Justin McManus JZM

Melbourne president Don McLardy has defended his club’s appointment of coach Mark Neeld, saying the Demons didn’t believe psychological testing was 'as relevant' in the interview process.

McLardy told SEN radio this morning that his club’s appointment procedure was 'comprehensive'. Caroline Wilson’s article in this morning’s Age pointed out that Melbourne was the only club of the four searching for a new coach last year that did not use psychological profiling in the appointment process.

"We didn’t feel that was as relevant… we knew exactly what we wanted. We were very clear about our parameters before we started. We had an extensive process that Cameron Schwab with the assistance of the AFL, there’s a lot of documentation and research already in place.

"Plus let’s face it… Mark Neeld’s been in the system for 15 years… there’s a depth of knowledge about this people already that we were able to get access to. So we didn’t see that as a critical part of the process."

St Kilda CEO Michael Nettlefold told SEN this morning that the Saints put their final three coaching candidates through extensive testing.

"Those three did a psychometrics test, an online test that goes for a couple of hours, it’s quite comprehensive… It’s about being thorough I think and that’s certainly the view we took."

St Kilda put new coach Scott Watters through ten hours of interviews, and used the services of Clare Prideau, who selects coaches for 23 Olympic disciplines, taking a month longer than Melbourne to complete its process.

"We knew we had to be considered. These things happen once in a while, not that often," Nettledfold said.

"We were about four weeks in the process, we came under a bit of media pressure that we were taking too long and we couldn’t make a decision, there was a little bit of that noise around at the time. We stuck to it and we knew what we were doing… it was detailed and at the end of the day it was worthwhile."

Melbourne hired Neeld three days after interviewing him, but McLardy stands by his club’s decision.

"We’re 100 per cent confident in Mark’s ability. The only issue we had with Mark was the lack of actual AFL experience which is why the appointment of (former Adelaide coach) Neil Craig we felt was really important.

Melbourne's coach Mark Neeld has sought to instil a defensive steel in the Demons.

Melbourne's coach Mark Neeld has sought to instil a defensive steel in the Demons. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

"We have not wavered from that position. As far as the appointment procedure, it was comprehensive, we have no problems with that whatsoever.

"And to look backwards simply because of the 0-8 position…. Our procedure was excellent, we were innovative and we got the person we wanted so to us that’s end of story, we’re looking forward."

McLardy admits his team is struggling with the changes demanded by their new boss, especially their defensive mechanisms.

"I know we’ve been working on this all summer and we’re continuing to work on it. And it is taking a while to change and we’ll keep asking those questions… but we’ve got to give this an opportunity to work.

"Our players are under a new regime, highly disciplined… a lot being asked of them… increased training levels, there’s a lot of things that have changed.

"And Neil Craig said at the start of the season he couldn’t predict what was going happen because this was a massive change to what our playing list was used to.

"Some have responded really well, some not so well. The challenge now with what’s happened is that everyone on our list has to stand up and show us what they’ve got."

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