Simon Goodwin knows Melbourne fans are hurting after the Demons’ winless start to the AFL season continued against undermanned Essendon.
And the third-year coach shares their pain, with his misfiring team capable of dizzying highs and frustrating lows in a 20.10 (130) to 18.4 (112) defeat at the MCG on Friday night.
With both sides, each touted as premiership contenders this season, winless after two rounds the pressure at the ground was palpable.
After a sluggish start, Melbourne kicked into gear to lead at halftime only to concede seven-goals-to-two in the pivotal third quarter.
“I’m hurting as a coach for where we sit at 0-3, our players are hurting, our staff are hurting and I know our supporters are hurting,” Goodwin said.
“My message is we’re just going to keep going and keep improving. There are 19 games to go.
“We’ve got to try to find ourselves in some really good form … it’s as simple as that.
“Nothing will turn it around but hard work and continually looking at how we can get better … that’s me as a coach, the players, everyone.
“It’s pretty simple.”
The damage is not fatal just yet, but Melbourne desperately need to get their season rolling with a win against Sydney at the SCG on Thursday.
The Demons have assembled a talented squad that is capable of doing just that to go on and challenge for the flag, but that’s what makes their poor early-season form so galling for fans.
The Bombers, who lost Kobe Mutch to a hamstring injury in the first five minutes, opened up Melbourne with their pace and all too often exposed a defensive unit that appeared disorganised.
“There are parts of our game that are unacceptable at the moment,” Goodwin conceded.
“We’re just getting scored against way too easily.
“… (But) we’re getting beaten at each end of the ground and if you do that you’re going to be easy to score against.
“So we’ve got some work to do in that phase of the game because we’re nowhere near the level that’s required.”
Angus Brayshaw (34 possessions), Clayton Oliver (29) and Max Gawn (18 disposals and 43 hitouts) battled hard at the contest, while James Harmes and Jayden Hunt booted three goals each.