Simon Goodwin addresses ugly rumours as Melbourne Demons take aim at AFL boss

Gary Pert has criticised Gillon McLachlan over his previous comments regarding the Demons coach.

Gillon McLachlan and Simon Goodwin.
Gillon McLachlan has been called out over previous comments about Simon Goodwin. Image: Getty

Simon Goodwin has vehemently denied long-standing rumours about illicit drug use, while Melbourne Demons CEO Gary Pert has criticised previous comments from Gillon McLachlan on the matter. Speaking to SEN radio on Tuesday morning, Demons coach Goodwin emphatically shot down the rumours and innuendo that have been swirling for three years.

"Never," Goodwin responded when asking if he uses illicit drugs. “And I’ve said this over a three-year period now and it’s pretty ordinary that I’m actually sitting in this position and having to justify that situation."

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The rumours stem from a night at the Sorrento Hotel in Victoria in 2020, with former Demons president Glen Bartlett levelling ugly claims against Goodwin. Bartlett was pushed out in 2021 after a number of reported clashes about Goodwin's behaviour.

“I know where it happened in terms of a rumour from down in the Mornington Peninsula where it was clearly going around," Goodwin said on Tuesday. “That for me was really concerning and bizarre at the time. It then led to an allegation. An allegation that was fully investigated by Gary Pert and the club about what that might’ve looked like – and there was nothing in it.

Simon Goodwin, pictured here during a Melbourne Demons game.
Simon Goodwin looks on during a Melbourne Demons game. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“I do not use illicit drugs. I give everything I can to my family and my team in a way that dedicates my life to my football club and to have this play out over three years where my reputation has been caught up in a board room battle. It has been documented over and over and over again in the public and it’s been really hard for myself, my family and enough is enough. I don’t use illicit drugs and I never will.

“When it’s such a sustained period of time and there’s no fact to the rumour, it is really tough on your family. I certainly don’t condone illicit drugs and it has been widely accused that I have a behaviour and lifestyle that’s just not acceptable.

“Do I enjoy having a beer and a punt and a glass of wine with mates? Of course I do. I’m a pretty straightforward type of guy, but I live my life in a way that is a dedicated approach to my career and my football club and my family.

“The rumours have to stop. It’s gone way out of control from a board room battle into court documents into republication and rehashing of a story over and over again to the extent where it’s become a ‘fact’, which is just not fair and it’s gone from a rumour, to an allegation, to a fact and it has got to stop."

Melbourne Demons boss takes aim at Gillon McLachlan

Pert said he personally investigated the claims and found nothing of substance. “I’m disgusted with what has played out over the last three years," he said. "Three years ago there were rumours going around, and like we do with other rumours, we checked them out and we take them the full length to establish whether we have any issues. For three years now I’ve been saying that this has been fully investigated.

“Every single person who is spreading this rumour at the time I spoke to and all of them said the same thing – ‘well I’m only passing on what I got told by someone else’. So I’d go back through the chain and took it all the way back to what seemed to be where it started from."

Gary Pert.
Melbourne Demons CEO Gary Pert. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Pert also took aim at AFL CEO McLachlan, who in 2020 reportedly told him: “I know for a fact your coach is out drinking with players at the Sorrento pub – are you crazy? That doesn’t work. Hanging out with his players, drinking and betting – just the wrong behaviour."

Pert said on Tuesday: “It certainly doesn’t help that the AFL CEO said that at the time, especially since I totally disagree with him and I said that at the time. If our players were not wanting to have a beer with the coach because they don’t have a relationship with him, especially when they’re living in the same suburb over summer, I’d have an issue with that.

“I made that very clear to Gil at the time. I do not have a problem with the head coach going to his local pub, which is run by one of his best mates, and having a drink with two of the most responsible senior players we’ve got – I loved the fact that that happened.”

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