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An Open Letter To Mark Neeld

It had to happen sooner or latter. Bad choices at the selection table, poor roles on the field for players, and an apparent lack of courage to make changes in the coaches’ box, it’s time Neeld got an open letter from RLGriffin.

Every Monday night DTTalk’s regular GWS guru @RLGriffin85 steps up to the plate to articulate the thoughts of AFL Dream Team coaches everywhere. Be it pointing the finger of blame at Senior AFL Coaches, setting a fire below underperforming players or just throw away comments about how bad Zac ‘Lurch’ Dawson really is; there’s no topic he isn’t willing to write about! Who’s in his sights this week?

An Open Letter to: Mark Neeld


Hi Mark,

I’ll be honest; I kind of feel bad writing this. I mean, you knew it was coming, and I knew it was coming, everyone knew it would happen, but still, it’s kind of like a passenger interrupting the pilot to complain about the turbulence as the plane starts spinning into a nose dive. “Not to be rude but, I’m spilling my scotch and coke, think you can crash this plane any gentler?”.

I mean, yes, you knew what you were applying for when you took on the job at Melbourne, and yes, you only took it because the Crows were taking so bloody long to get in the game, but seriously. Another rebuilding year? Come on. How many years do Melbourne need to rebuild? The players must feel like pieces of a Jenga game by now with the amount of blokes promising to come on in and rebuild, only for the club to fall over again and again.

Let’s talk facts. Liam Jurrah; good in a fight, some fight on the field, but “has done all the right things to be selected”? No. Colin Sylvia; glad to see he hasn’t stubbed his toe to rule himself out for six weeks with a long term injury, but the guy you want to take the game by the scruff of the neck and march in to battle. Nope. And then there is Cale Morton; I’ve seen more impressive acts of brilliance on a footy field when the game is over as seagulls try to get the last chip down the very end of that crumpled up paper cup. At least they put in some effort.

Mark, things have got to change. I understand that you want to play the game your way and that the troops you have at your disposal would have difficulty taking down a bunch of sugar high ten year olds. But the doubt and questionable choices that you’re coming to the selection table with make Delta Goodrem look like a ruthless dictator. Things have to change.

Melbourne has conceded more points this year than the Giants and has won fewer games. How is that even possible? I mean, GWS were a shoe in for last place this season, that’s what GWS stands for, Guaranteed Wooden Spooners, but they may get pushed out of it by you! That’s about as unlikely as Denis Cometti walking in for a Friday night broadcast only to be told that Brian Taylor will take his spot as he could do a better job. Are you out of your mind?

You’ve got a ball Magnet who is driven to succeed, not beaten down (yet) by loss after loss and what do you do with him? You made him a bloody tagger! Magner has more drive to get to a contest and win the ball than just about anyone at your club and you think the best way to use him is to have him standing back behind his opponent ready to tackle. The only person who should be standing in any shadows at Melbourne is Lynden Dunn, and that’s just to hide that atrocity on his upper lip.

Then there is Couch. I’m sorry mate but it has to be said, and as you spent some time at Collingwood I’ll say it slow for you: Tom. Couch. Should. Be. Playing. Every. Single. Week! It’s that simple! When team sheets are released on Thursdays (not that they mean much anymore) T.Couch should be listed on the bloody field, not on the bench, not as an emergency, and for the love of all things Stynes, not the F***ING SUB! What are you worried about? That you’ll have too many ball winners? One isn’t too many!

If big Jim left one impression amongst anyone at Melbourne it should have been that if you give a bloke a go, a bloke with determination and love of the game, he will try until his heart gives out. Tom Couch has struggled for years to get on a club list, he takes it into his own hands, forces his way through, blows his team mates out of the water, has the fans excited, members may actually be walking through the door and you play him in the bloody twos! It’s enough to give me, the fans and the whole football community the bloody twos. Give him a bloody go!

Don’t be a coach for the players. If you hurt their feelings they’ll get over it once somebody explains to them what happened. Look at Fevola! Nobody wanted him and he’s over it, he’s probably out dancing right now thanks to it. Drop players who play sh*t. Pick players who play well. So what if your team sheet looks like a revolving door and you play forty blokes between now and the end of the year? At least Melbourne supporters will see that the spirit in the Demons is still burning.

So as you put this plane down, please, think of the blokes up the back. The blokes who are riding the bumps every leg of the way because they have no choice! Yes a solid team week in and out is important, but not as important as showing some guts. Not just out on the field, but in the coaches’ box as well. Either way, you’ll always have Melbourne FC on your resume, but what’s the point of it if you have a good reference but no results to show for it? Sorry mate, but seriously, Melbourne’s doing crap.



The Wider AFL Community


PS. Apologies for bringing Jim Stynes in to this, but apparently no one down at the Demons give stuff unless you mention his name.





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