License article

Time for Paul Roos to commit and start using the 'we' word at Melbourne

Ninety three-point losses are not dissimilar to relationship break-ups in that there is no pleasant way of handling them. They are cruel, dispiriting affairs and moving on from them is no simple task.

And clearly Melbourne’s new coach did not see Sunday’s debacle against West Coast coming. The loss was perhaps predictable but not the tentative performances, the clangers, the failure of some players to even break into a chase.

But surely Paul Roos needed to take more ownership post-game of his struggling team of battlers. The shocked coach said the errors he witnessed were ''an eye-opener for me'' and so bad that he had never seen the likes of it before.

Roos said he would be making statements and changes and foresaw a weekly turnover of personnel, but too often he referred to his players as ''they'' and only occasionally as ''we''.

Perhaps Roos should not have been so blindsided and perhaps even in the name of camaraderie he should have taken more responsibility for the woeful effort. Like all new regimes, the new guard must stop blaming the past some time soon.

Before the game, Melbourne chief executive Peter Jackson put forward a number of hypothetical scenarios referring to the custodians of a club that has been so woeful for so long. He suggested Roos may remain at the club for five seasons, and if Roos remains the highly competitive teacher he was at Sydney then even he will need at least that long.


It is not good enough right now to talk about what Roos hopes to achieve over two years. His exit strategy and generic ambition of leaving the club in a better place that where he found it should not be part of any post-game conversation. That’s the last thing his players need to hear.

Jackson, who moved in when the club was in crisis mode, has not yet committed beyond the end of this season, and Roos not beyond next. The once top-order priorities of an experienced general manager of football and a senior assistant coach-in-waiting have not yet been achieved.

But surely Roos must now commit at least until the end of 2016, and so must Jackson. Why else would James Frawley re-sign with the club? Why else would any quality off-field performer put his hand up for those other crucial roles?

Remember the Kreuzer Cup? That was seven years ago and Carlton for all its knockers has made four finals series since then, while Melbourne has not looked like nearing September.

Now that Paul Roos has accepted the handsomely rewarded but daunting task of rebuilding the Melbourne Football Club, he must be a part of every failure as well as every small improvement. This is not a time for consultants, and while no one is suggesting he has behaved that way, the impression after Sunday’s post-game press conference was that Melbourne was one thing and Roos another.