Simon Goodwin makes sad revelation about family amid ugly AFL rumours around Demons coach

The Melbourne Demons coach has been targeted by nasty allegations for the past few years.

Melbourne Demons coach Simon Goodwin has opened up on the toll that constant attacks on his character have had on himself and his family. Goodwin has been the target of long-standing rumours about illicit drug use, inappropriate behaviour and gambling - first aired by former Melbourne president Glen Bartlett in 2021.

Bartlett was pushed out of the club in 2020 and has been levelling ugly claims about Goodwin ever since. Goodwin addressed the rumours in October of last year and firmly denied them.

Speaking to The Age last weekend, the 47-year-old lifted the lid on how the rumours have affected himself and his family. “I love my job, I love my family and I love coming to work every day and I’m not going to let articles which are false and essentially relating to a board dispute affect that,” he said.

“I’m not going to disappear down a hole because I love this job too much and I love this life too much. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been easy. There have been times when it has been terrible. (My reputation) has taken a hammering. It’s been tough on me, but it’s been tougher on my parents and my children and my brothers.”

Simon Goodwin and family.
Simon Goodwin with partner Kristine Brooks (L), and ex-wife Maggie and their three kids (R). Image: Getty

The rumours about Goodwin's behaviour stem from a night at the Sorrento Hotel in Victoria in 2020. Speaking to SEN radio last year, Goodwin said: “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.

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

“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.

Simon Goodwin.
Simon Goodwin looks on during the Melbourne Demons' loss to Fremantle Dockers. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“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."


Pert said he personally investigated the claims at the time 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."