Former North Melbourne AFL footballer David King was on Fox Footy’s AFL Insider Tuesday night and decided to put the winless Melbourne Demons on blast. His target: the appointment of Mark Neeld as head coach ahead of the 2012 season.
King criticized the coach and club by saying that the coach’s style goes against the strengths of the playing group.
"The way he's playing is 100 per cent against what that list can achieve," King said on the program.
"He would have come in (during the interview process) and presented his mode of how he wanted to play. They would have sat there and said, 'does this list suit what he's trying to achieve', and if they were fair dinkum and 100 per cent accurate about it, they would have said, 'no, it doesn't, we think you're going to be a great coach but you're not a perfect fit for us'.
King didn’t however argue that Neeld should be sacked, but this comes just a night after Perth radio station 6PR Sports Central commentators Karl Langdon and Brad Hardie speculated that Neeld’s appointment was a rushed decision once Melbourne had learnt Ross Lyon would sign with Fremantle. They stated on their Moday night show that Melbourne reacted to the Lyon signing by locking up Neeld the day after.
Channel Nine’s Footy Classified also tackled the issue on their Monday night show with the panel questioning host and former Melbourne decision maker, Gary Lyon. Lyon remains a staunch Demons supporter despite no longer being part of the brains trust there and said that his, and the club's, opinion of Neeld hasn’t changed- that he is the right man for the job.
"His strong adherence to structure and defense and being able to know your role within the side was really important, we thought, from a Melbourne point of view that had played some pretty carefree and blasé fare footy that had deliver a few results but had opened them up really badly, and we forget about that at times, " he said.
"…They needed to shore up that defensive aspect of the game. He’s gone on and hit them very hard with that aspect of the game and their ability to absorb that and put it into place hasn’t come to fruition just yet."
Lyon went on to say that Melbourne’s play has been unacceptable but reiterated that the coach wouldn’t be going anywhere and the players needed to get onboard with his plan.
King is right, Melbourne have been extremely poor thus far in 2012, losing by an average margin of 57 points per contest with six of their eight opponents having already scored 100 plus points in games against them.
The times the Demons have looked good, for example in their Round 4 21-point loss to the Western Bulldogs where they played with great heart, have been few and far between and losses such as last weekend's 101-point drubbing at the hands of Sydney have been nothing short of embarrassing.
Despite Lyon's comments something will have to budge in the near future because the fan base, members and sponsors won't tolerate this much type of losing much longer.