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Goodwin welcomes weight of AFL history

Goodwin welcomes weight of AFL history


Simon Goodwin hopes the ghosts of AFL preliminary finals-past haunt Geelong and spare Melbourne their September demons on Friday night at Optus Stadium.


Since their most recent premiership in 2011, the Cats have won only seven of 21 finals and four of those losses have been in preliminaries.

While Melbourne have much less finals experience, Goodwin thinks that might work to their advantage.

“There’s no doubt it comes down to execution, but sometimes there are some benefits in not know what’s in front of you, not having some of the scars that are associated with preliminary finals,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s a good thing.

“We have a good, healthy balance of experience and youth.


“It really comes down now to being able to stay in the moment and execute what you need.”

Of course, what Goodwin did not mention was Melbourne’s most recent preliminary final – a woeful 66-point loss to West Coast three years ago, also at Optus Stadium.

But history is proving equal parts millstone and inspiration for the Demons as they try to snap the league’s longest premiership drought.

The curse of Norm Smith has plagued Melbourne since 1964 and they’re the feel-good story of this finals series.

Much more recent history is also buoying the Demons.


They are on a five-game winning streak, punctuated by their round-23 miracle against the Cats.

Melbourne trailed by 44 points in the third quarter at Geelong before storming home.

A goal to captain Max Gawn after the final siren gave the Demons their first minor premiership in 57 years.

“You can draw a lot of belief, in terms of how you play, and that the game is never over,” Goodwin said.

“It certainly builds belief that we can do it from any position and obviously against (Geelong) it was only four weeks ago, so that builds a little bit of belief.


“But … it’s a new challenge.

“We need to execute and that’s the challenge for any team at this time of year.”

Asked about the weight of history, Goodwin said there is pressure on all four preliminary finalists.

“Our pressure comes because we haven’t won it for such a long period of time, but that’s a real privilege for us,” he said.

“We think we’ve worked our way to create an opportunity, to put our best on show and that’s the way we’re looking at it. We want to embrace that past.”


With round 23 as Exhibit A, Goodwin also noted that Melbourne this season have shown a consistent ability to reset under pressure and stay in the moment.

One setback this week has been the hamstring injury to defender Joel Smith, who was hurt at Tuesday’s training and is out of the side.

Michael Hibberd has been named to take Smith’s place for the preliminary final but Goodwin is confident the latter will be available for selection if the Demons reach the grand final.

“I’m not into ‘ifs’, but he’s looking OK it’s pretty minor,” he said.

“He’s full-steam ahead in his preparation and he’ll do everything to be ready if that’s the case.”