Simon Goodwin's message to Demons fans after brutal truth bomb from Garry Lyon

The Melbourne coach has attempted to rally the fans after a disappointing end to the season.

Simon Goodwin after a game and Goodwin shares a photo with Garry Lyon.

Simon Goodwin has delivered a strong message to Melbourne footy fans and said the team are ready to take the next step after club great Garry Lyon blasted the 'failed' 2023 season. Melbourne became the first team under the current AFL finals system to lose two games in a row in back-to-back seasons.

This year, Melbourne lost to Carlton, before falling to eventual champions Collingwood in the qualifying final. Melbourne are now 0-4 in the finals since their drought-breaking triumph in 2021.

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This prompted Lyon to label the season as a 'failure' in a candid review of his former club. And ahead of next season the coach has implored fans, at the annual forum, to stick by the team as they look to build on another AFL finals exit. "We just didn't win the moments that mattered in the finals - they are the facts," he said.

"We weren't able to execute in front of goal, we didn't maximise our entry and that's the first thing we looked at when we came back in (for pre-season. One goal a game takes us from sixth to first (among) the best offensive teams."

Goodwin was certain the team would learn from their exit and improve. "We're not going to live under a rock. We're going to look for the opportunities, we're going to look for the growth," Goodwin said. "We're going to drive winning behaviours and ultimately, hopefully, by the end of (next season) ... you'll be pretty happy."

Back in September, Lyon was critical of the Demons after their lacklustre failure for two years in a row. “Any way you look at it it’s a failed season, which is a bitter pill to swallow," Lyon said on Fox Footy after the game.

He the then declared Goodwin would be “absolutely gutted.” He added: “They’ve been in the top four for something like 58 of 62 weeks and they’ve got one premiership to show for it and they’ve lost their last four finals. This would be heartbreaking for him.”

Garry Lyon on stage.
Garry Lyon (pictured) was critical of Melbourne's season after going 0-4 in the AFL finals across the last two years. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Melbourne team culture defended after 2023 drama

Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert also defended Melbourne's culture after plenty of drama over the offseason regarding seperate incidents involving Clayton Oliver and Joel Smith. Pert claimed Oliver was committed to Melbourne, but did not elaborate on Smith. "Clayton's doing really well, he's in a great head (space)," he said.

"He's made a real commitment ... he's 100 per cent in, he wants to be part of something really special. We understand that Joel Smith is still part of an active investigation."

And Pert doubled down on Melbourne's ability to make back-to-back finals campaigns, which was driven by a strong culture. "When I get asked do we have cultural problems, I think quite the opposite - I think it is a competitive edge and it's been driven by the best group of leaders that I've seen within a football organisation," he said.

"I can't promise ... that we won't have issues around behaviour or people not being aligned with the culture. That's not what a strong culture is about ... that is about calling out when individuals aren't in alignment with the culture, with our values."

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