Eagles down dismal Demons
Vast swathes of empty seats at the MCG on Sunday as Melbourne slumped to a 93-point thrashing at the hands of the West Coast Eagles.PT1M33S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-35sfl 620 349 March 31, 2014
Paul Roos has begun compiling a dossier of the Melbourne players who can’t perform the non-negotiables of football as he forecast savage changes to the team over the coming weeks following their 93-point savaging against West Coast.
The Demons coach said he had witnessed many fundamental errors he had never seen in his teams before. It was the biggest defeat Roos had experienced as a coach.
‘‘Now it is probably the point of – this is what I want and if you can’t deliver then someone else will,’’ Roos said. ‘‘That’s fine. That is where we will be over the next two to five weeks. I will just make changes and just make statements and that is what footy is.’’
Demons coach Paul Roos watches his players being outplayed by the Eagles. Photo: Getty Images
Roos bemoaned that bad habits seemed so entrenched in the team that he could struggle to break them.
‘‘At some point you have to draw a line in the sand and say these are the guys we are going to pick ... if you don’t want to do [the basics] you don’t play, you can’t become a good team unless you have those real non-negotiables,’’ he said.
‘‘We have to teach some of the more basic things of footy, we just have to do that a lot better. If you can’t get hold of the ball and you fumble it all the time and you can’t make tackles – they are the most basic things in footy.’’
Sunday’s horror show – especially the alarming skill errors – clearly rattled him, with players dropping easy chest marks and turning the ball over constantly. Five of the first eight Eagles goals were due to the Demons coughing up possession.
‘‘Today we were just really poor at it. Whether that is old habits – it has been going for a long time, I suspect. Some of the stuff today, guys missing chest marks, certainly I haven’t seen that before, so it is an eye opener for me as well as a new coach of the footy club. Some of the errors were incredible.
‘‘We have to make sure we are clear on what we want to stand for as a footy club and what we deem as acceptable and what we deem as unacceptable.’’
Roos said the fact he had only coached the team for two AFL games was not relevant.
‘‘How do you break the habits – you have to keep training for it and training for it, or you pick different blokes. It’s round two but I am certainly putting a dossier together, my own dossier,’’ he said.
‘‘I mean it is early in my tenure here but you are building up a profile on each of the players and you see them under the heat and you see what they can and can’t do. There are some non-negotiables in footy, that’s the reality of what the game is and if you can’t do them you can’t play.
‘‘You could see the hesitation, even when we got out in space there was just no one to kick it to, so certainly that is having a huge bearing on your ability to score. It probably doesn’t have that big an impact on your ability to do basic things. That is my job Monday to separate those two components, the fact that we don’t have a forward line – what does that mean from a ball movement point of view.’’
Roos said the enormous gap between the top and bottom of the ladder was startling and obvious.
‘‘There’s a big difference between top and bottom last year. The Eagles had a lot of injuries. They are a top four to six side so you can see with an 18-team competition the difference between the best and the worst. There is a big gap. You can’t run away from it. You can’t hide.’’
The Demons did not kick their first goal until seven minutes into the second term, through Shannon Byrnes.
While it was a poor day for most Demons, co-captain Nathan Jones again stood out with a gutsy performance in the midfield, finishing with a game-high 34 possessions.
Even West Coast coach Adam Simpson wasn’t happy. ‘‘We started pretty well and we lost our way a little bit there,’’ he said. ‘‘Fortunately we kept the scoreboard ticking over. Overall, it was a frustrating game.’’