21/04/2024

Simon Goodwin believes his side are fully focused to take on Geelong tomorrow night (Photo - Melbourne Demons)

Melbourne Demons coach Simon Goodwin has full belief in his playing group after a strong week in the lead up to their prelim clash.

Melbourne Demons coach Simon Goodwin says he and the playing group are excited for their upcoming preliminary final clash against Geelong tomorrow night.

After what he believes was a solid week on the training track, Goodwin believes there’s a sense of optimism within the playing group.

“The focus has been really strong, we’ve had a couple of really strong training sessions,” Goodwin told media on Thursday.

“I guess the feeling internally inside the camp is just one of excitement, one where we’re prepared, we believe in the way we play and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“And that’s certainly not lost on us, the opportunity and the challenge in front of us, but it’s one of excitement and one we’re looking forward to getting [to be] a part of.”

The Demons will face the Cats for the second time within a month, having previously defeated Geelong in round 23 after being seven goals down.

Goodwin highlighted that his side have had numerous comeback victories during the season, saying that the team has the ability to fight out games.

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

“We’ve come from behind a number of times this year in really important games for us, against the Lions in the middle of the year and again in round 23 [against Geelong], and it builds belief that we can do it from any position.

“Obviously against the opposition we’re playing against, it was only four weeks ago, so that builds a little bit of belief, but like I said the other night, it’s a new challenge, a new game, and a new opportunity.

“We believe in how we play and we think we’re pretty sound in the foundations that we have, but we need to execute, but that’s the challenge for any team at this time of year, you need to be at your best at the right time and that’s our aim.”

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And though Goodwin is pleased with his side’s ability learn and adapt, he doesn’t want a repeat of what happened in round 23.

“There’s always plenty to learn, we had a look at a number of things in that game,” he said.

“Not going to get into the specifics of those learnings, but we’re a club that does learn from situations, and we found ourselves 40 points down pretty quickly in that game and it was a three-minute patch within it where they kicked five goals.

“So there’s things that we can control in that, there’s things that Geelong are very good at, but it’s something that we don’t want to see happen again because it’s momentum in the game that can be really hard to arrest.

Having last weekend off, the Demons took part in a match simulation game. Goodwin says he was pleased with the intensity of the playing group as he tried to mirror the match conditions of a preliminary final.

“We like to be really competitive in the way we train and clearly there’s a lot of excitement, but we want to make the competition in the match simulation as close to a game as possible,” he said.

“A bit of flesh on flesh is really important at this time of year for the competitive juices, and we want to make sure that’s the hallmark of how we play.

“We play a contested style of game that’s strong defensively and we need to train it, it’s really important for our mindset and our ability to execute.”

The Demons are going full steam ahead of tomorrow night’s prelim final (Photos – AFL)

Goodwin gave an update on defender Joel Smith, who will be out of action in tomorrow night’s clash.

“Joel Smith has got a minor hammy, so that’s disappointing for Joel,” he said.

“He’s worked really hard to get back into the team and perform really strongly for us, so that’s disappointing for him but in that there comes opportunity for someone else.

“At five o’clock we’ll see when the team gets released, you’ll find out who that lucky person is.”

Goodwin also gave an update on Jayden Hunt, and though he hasn’t played since round 21, Goodwin has full confidence the fitness and conditioning staff will have him ready to play if he were to be selected.

“We have confidence in our performance staff to get him prepared physically to be able to play there’s no question about that, we’ve seen that over the whole year” he said.

“They’ve done a wonderful job in that space and obviously the decision will come down to what our risk appetite is like.

“We’ve got a lot of guys pressing for selection and Jayden is one of them, he trained strong on Tuesday and he’s in the mindset of being available and being able to press his case and we’ve got some decisions to make and obviously they’ll be released later.”

Despite not having won a premiership since 1964, and having not made a grand final appearance since the start of the century, Goodwin says it’s not just the Demons who are under pressure to win this weekend.

“There’s pressure on everyone, there’s pressure on every footy club if you look at history and circumstances of all teams in the run, there’s pressure on every side for different varieties and different reasons,” he said.

“Our pressure comes because we haven’t won it for such a long period of time.

“But that’s a real privilege for us, 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 the past and we want to make sure we really respect what the opportunity is in front of us and go after it.

“And that’s what the players have been putting in all year, they’ve been able to reset themselves, they’ve been able to understand the importance of staying in the moment, and it’s no different now just because we’re getting closer and just because it’s getting closer, it doesn’t change our thought process.”

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