Stick with AFL’s Demons, Neeld urges fans
Melbourne coach Mark Neeld has urged supporters to stick with the embattled AFL club, insisting they are improving even if no one else can see it.
Sitting winless on the bottom of the ladder after Saturday’s 101-point loss to Sydney, the critics have come out in force to attack Neeld, the Demons’ administration and players this week.
Neeld thanked those fans who continued to back them through a tough period and said the groundwork was being laid for what could become rapid on-field improvement.
“We do have, I believe, a core group of in particular very young players that are making inroads and the wheel can turn quickly, the wheel can turn very quickly,” Neeld said in a video on the club’s website.
“The work ethic that the players are putting in behind closed doors from game to game, to which people aren’t privy, is strong and I believe we’re heading in the right direction.
“There might be some short-term pain, but stick with us.”
The former Collingwood assistant coach said he knew how a successful club operated.
He said coaches and players were confident they were steadily establishing the standards of training and performance needed to reach that status.
“We see what’s going on day to day and unless you’re part of the inner sanctum you don’t (see) that,” Neeld said.
“Our role is to create an environment where we’re seeking improvement all the time.
“Make no mistake, we are at the stage of establishing standards for us as a group, very basic competitive standards.
“That’s where we must start, they are the foundations.”
But Neeld acknowledged supporters needed to see much more against Carlton at the MCG on Sunday than the performance that was served up against the Swans, when Melbourne were 40 points down by the first change.
“We’re looking for us as a collective group to come out and show the supporters that we stand for certain things and that what happened last Saturday night was not good enough,” he said.© AAP 2013
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