By Shayne Bugden For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 00:19 EDT, 17 April 2022 | Updated: 00:27 EDT, 17 April 2022
Melbourne's offseason drama that saw coach Simon Goodwin heavily criticised over claims he drank and gambled with players was 'perfect' for the Demons because it hardened them into an almost unstoppable force, according to footy legend turned commentator Nick Riewoldt.
Goodwin's team sit atop the ladder and are the AFL's only undefeated side after their demolition of the GWS Giants on Saturday night marked their 12th victory in a row.
The coach was the subject of bombshell revelations in the Herald Sun in February, with claims he had been drinking and gambling with players and engaged in behaviour so erratic the club considered dumping him on the eve of the 2021 season.
Simon Goodwin (pictured during Melbourne's win over the GWS Giants on Saturday night) was slammed over bombshell claims he drank and gambled with his players
Nick Riewoldt (left, pictured with his cousin, Richmond star Jack Riewoldt) says the offseason drama has hardened the team into an almost unstoppable unit
It was also reported that AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan encouraged Melbourne to remove the coach if they thought the step was necessary.
Speaking on Fox Footy's Best on Ground show, Riewoldt said the drama has made the Demons a stronger outfit than they were on their premiership run last season.
'All that turmoil was perfect for them, because it galvanised them and they've hit the ground running this year,' he said.
'It doesn't look like [anyone can stop them]. They are playing with a supreme level of confidence.'
Melbourne skipper Max Gawn (pictured, centre, during the GWS Giants match) was quick to back Goodwin when the controversy blew up in February
His fellow commentator and former Brisbane Lions superstar Jonathan Brown agreed, saying the Dees will be difficult for anyone to beat this year.
'There's nothing wrong with having a few beers down at the pub with your players,' Brown added.
'The more they win, the more they develop the belief with each other.
'They know their roles, they know where they will be. They've just got total belief ... that they are going to run over the top of sides.'
Goodwin's players seemed unfazed by the controversy on the eve of the 2022 season, with skipper Max Gawn backing him and telling the media, 'I am going to continue to have a beer with my boss and my coach.
The Demons ruckman said of the team's time at the pub with Goodwin: 'Maybe that is when we nutted out 2021 and we were able to go on to what we did [winning the flag]'. Melbourne are pictured after winning last year's grand final in Perth
'What we learned over a couple of beers at the pub, our local at the time, maybe that is when we nutted out 2021 and we were able to go on to what we did.
'I am going to continue to do that in a professional sense and just chew the fat at one o'clock on a Saturday arvo.'
In February this year Gawn also posted a photo to Instagram featuring him and Goodwin at a bar with the caption 'Planning 22' at the local'.
The Demons haven't looked back since beating the Western Bulldogs in a grand final rematch in round one, and kept Port Adelaide to their lowest ever score in a half of football during their easy win in round four.
But they'll have to win another seven games on the trot to equal the club's best winning run of 19 matches, set across the 1955 and 1956 seasons.
Source: Google News