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Paul Roos is out of form. Just look at the way he has coached Melbourne in their losses against Collingwood and St Kilda.
One of the key fundamentals of coaching is to communicate to your players how you want them to play and execute a plan to beat the opposition, and whichever way you look at it, Roos failed to do that to the level required to get his side the four points.
Roos was agitated with his players after the Collingwood loss and angry with himself and his players after the St Kilda heartbreaker last Sunday. Roos conceded after the Collingwood match that the players didn’t listen to his instructions that Adam Oxley needed to be made accountable across half back in the Queen’s Birthday match. Oxley was able to do as he pleased on his way to more than 30 possessions and 14 marks and no doubt would have been thinking: ‘how easy is this ?’.
Football media and Melbourne fans calling in on talkback after the match just couldn’t get their head around why Roos wasn’t able to curb Oxley’s influence. What’s more damning though is that if Roos was telling his players right throughout the day to play through Oxley and keep him accountable, then why did they refuse to do it?
That would have to be one of the more blatant disregard of a coach’s instructions that I can remember and the players responsible should have been sent back to the VFL for a month if that was truly the case.
There is no doubting that Melbourne’s overall effort and consistency to compete is much better than we have seen in recent years but at the end of the day, Melbourne supporters are just sick of losing.
With Roos now halfway through his multi-million dollar, three-year deal, I will be fascinated to see how the Demons finish off the season. It will show the size of Roos’ imprint on this playing group with just 12 months left before he hands over to Simon Goodwin.
The St Kilda loss was hard to fathom for so many people because there would be up to 15 people on Melbourne’s bench between players, assistant coaches, medical staff and trainers. How not one of them could relay a message to the 18 players on the field that there was just 40 seconds left in the match is comical, yet I haven’t met any Melbourne supporter who found it funny because they are fed up with the constant disappointment.
What isn’t helping the players’ cause either is the constant reflections on the past. Roos is getting paid a lot of money to fix the problems, not dwell on them and I have not heard Ken Hinkley, Alan Richardson or Luke Beveridge talk about the demons that their players are suffering from years of finishing at the foot of the table.
All the reflections of the past are doing is giving the Melbourne players another out as to why another season will come and go without playing in the finals.
Jesse Hogan, Angus Brayshaw, Christian Salem, Dom Tyson and Christian Petracca and the experienced recruits that Melbourne have acquired in the last 18 months know nothing about what the previous eras at Melbourne were like. All they know is the ‘Paul Roos-era’ and Roos has set upon building a highly defensive side that has plenty of numbers around the ball, making Melbourne very much a high stoppage team.
There is no doubting that Roos has made Melbourne much harder to score against but that is the easiest part to fix in the modern game by putting numbers around the ball so the next phase for Roos to focus on is to get his side to move the ball quicker and far more efficiently into the forward line.
They now have a focal point in Hogan who is going to bring Melbourne fans back to the football with what he will produce over the next decade and like any good forward, all Hogan needs is a 50-50 chance and he will do the rest if the ball is moved quickly enough to him. Melbourne are ranked 17th in the AFL for total points kicked this year with an average of just 71 points per game.
With Hogan already a presence and Jeff Garlett looking dangerous at Hogan’s feet inside 50, there is no reason why the shackles cannot be released on a very controlled game plan.
Roos has an aura about him like few have and he’s been the strong figurehead that the club was desperately seeking to regain relevance in the competition.
For all that, it is too early to tell just how big an imprint he has made so far on the playing group and culture as I can see improvement yet there is no on-field success to show for it.
The legacy Roos is likely to leave at Melbourne remains unclear but if he is to leave a giant one over the next 18 months, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be his greatest achievement in football.
The last fortnight has proven there is still a long way to go and so much to cram into the 31 games before he hands over to Goodwin and kicks up his heels on the sands of Hawaii. The Age SportThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.