Video of Simon Goodwin’s press conference after Melbourne Demons defeat to Sydney Swans
Melbourne manager Simon Goodwin lamented his side’s poor discipline during the crucial stages of Friday night’s loss to the Swans, who were cleaner than the Dees for the second time this year.
On Friday night, the Swans reached their first preliminary final since 2016 and their fourth in the past 10 seasons after beating the Demons by 22 points in a thrilling MCG qualifying final in front of more than 78,000 fans.
Melbourne led by 16 points at the start of the second term before the Swans scored four unanswered goals to take the lead at half-time. And after the Dees kicked off the first three majors of the third term, Sydney scored eight of the game’s last 10 goals to eliminate the winners.
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Speaking to reporters after the game, Goodwin praised the Swans’ pressure, stingy defense – particularly in the third quarter – and their ability to capitalize on their opportunities at center forward.
But Goodwin said his team’s lack of self-control at critical moments in the game, which often led to Swans scoring, left him frustrated.
“I thought tonight there were times when we had clear looks and our fundamentals and our basics were just off,” he said.
“We gave away a 50m penalty which cost us a goal, we turned the ball over three times in our half-back. We gave them chances, but they defended incredibly well and they locked us up for a while, which is a bit abnormal for us.
“We’ve done a lot of things in the game… It’s just about running the basics better for longer and not giving up easy goals. We gave up three away goals for lack of discipline tonight, which costs you football matches.
“Finals football is about mastering the basics for a long period of time – and you have to be a disciplined football team all the time. So whether you give up goals from 50m or free kicks down or you giving up territory through down reversals that cost you goals hurts. In tight games where the stakes are high, it hurts. So you have to master the basics of your game and discipline is part of that.
Melbourne won possession contested (+25) and inside 50 (+6), but managed 10 goals to Swans’ 14. It was a similar story when the two teams met in Round 12 when the Dees won the number of disputed balls and nearly broke even with Sydney in the 50s, but the Swans had seven more shots. and won by 12 points.
“I think they’re cracking up football games every time we play them… They’ve just been a little bit more efficient when they’ve had their opportunities,” Goodwin said.
“They did it again tonight, they scored a goal at incredible pace and all the credit goes to him. They play a great brand of footy, they play a contested style, they press well and they are efficient.
“That’s our challenge is that when we face them in these types of matches, the most efficient team will win.”
Goodwin said Tom McDonald will be part of a “big session” on Saturday which will determine his availability for next week’s semi-final against the Brisbane Lions.
He added that Christian Petracca was shot in the leg during the second term.
“He got a pretty big kick from Buddy just below the knee in the calf. He just had a bruise which we will assess during the week, but it was quite painful,” he said.
“Obviously it restricted his movement for most of the night and impacted his game a bit, but he’ll pull through, reset and hopefully be clear and ready to go next week. “
For the Demons to play each other now, they will need to win three games in three weeks.
But Goodwin stressed that his club’s situation “has not changed”.
“Any team in the competition need to win three games in a row to win it, so it’s no different for us. Our challenge is to do that next week and get that first away win against Brisbane, who played a fantastic game last night,” he said.
“The equation for us hasn’t changed. That’s why you have a double chance. But we need to be very clear as a club that we need to learn from what we did tonight, get our basics from our games in the final and execute better when we have our chances and be more disciplined – this is the key to the game.