The Roar
The Roar


It could take five years: Demons coach Neeld

Roar Guru
18th May, 2013

Melbourne coach Mark Neeld has warned frustrated supporters it could be up to five years before the Demons are competitive in the AFL.

Melbourne sunk to a low point when they were whipped by the Gold Coast Suns last week and face another hammering on Sunday when they meet Richmond at the MCG.

Neeld admitted on Saturday that not only was there little that could be done to turn the players’ performance around in a week, but that the young side could take a minimum of three years to realise their potential.

The Demons have won just once this year and after Richmond face massive tasks over the next month against Fremantle, Hawthorn and Collingwood.

“There’s no short term fix, it’s a long term fix,” Neeld said.

“We’re doing exactly what everyone said the football club needed to do two to three years ago.

“We’ve got an unbelievably inexperienced list, so it’s not about from week-to-week.”

But he said there were already early signs of improvement.

“If you look at our past month, three of those games, the effort and all the combative stats have been particularly good and world knows that when you’re dealing with inexperienced groups you’re going to have weeks where it’s not so good.”


Neeld said it was also impossible to tell how many players were performing to their potential due to their inexperience.

“We’ve got 13 players out there tomorrow who have played under 50 games … how many players with under 50 games play to their full potential?”

Neeld said Richmond players had around 90 games under their belts and even a win would not turn the situation around quickly.

“We’re blooding a whole heap of players at the one time and we’ve got probably seven of our first choice selected players out (injured and suspended).

“Our aim is to be competitive for as long as we possibly can and that’s where we’re at,” he said.

He said the club’s plan of a complete facelift would take between three to five years to complete.

“It normally takes between three and five years, depending on the player, until they fully understand AFL footy and what it’s like, so that’s somewhere between 60 and 100 games.

“Over the last 25 years the team that wins the premiership has averaged about 110 games (per player).”


Melbourne have regained co-captain Jack Trengove, who is over a calf injury, for the clash with richmond.