Simon Goodwin gambling, bullying allegations: AFL world reacts to Melbourne Demons coach bombshell

Melbourne Football Club has been rocked by serious allegations against coach Simon Goodwin on the eve of the 2022 AFL premiership.

The AFL world has been stunned by shocking allegations involving Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin on the eve of the 2022 AFL premiership.

On Tuesday morning, theHerald Sun reported Melbourne’s board was forced to investigate claims of ­Goodwin’s alleged behavioural issues from 2018 to early 2021, including claims of drinking, gambling and workplace bullying.

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The Herald Sun also reported several ­directors at the Demons were so alarmed by the allegations, they discussed standing Goodwin down ahead of the 2021 season — before his team went on to win the premiership.

Goodwin’s alleged drinking and gambling with players also caught the attention of AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, who reportedly described Goodwin’s behaviour as “crazy” during a crisis meeting.

Speaking to RSN Breakfast on Tuesday morning, Herald Sun AFL reporter Jon Ralph said Melbourne could not sweep the Goodwin allegations under the rug, suggesting the club needed to ensure there wouldn’t be a relapse.

“It’s an absolutely extraordinary story,” Ralph said.

“If those allegations were revealed before last season … you’d say Simon Goodwin’s position was untenable, and yet he’s the premiership coach and he’s never coached better.

“Melbourne might well say, ‘He had some massive issues that we had to council him on that he’s since addressed’.

“To see it there in club documents … it’s extraordinary. Simon Goodwin would be reading it thinking, ‘Yeah OK, all those things are terrible, but look at what I’ve just done. I’ve just held up the cup. I’m just about to unfurl a premiership flag in 42 days’.

“I think Melbourne probably has a lot of questions to answer today, and so does the AFL in regards to his conduct.

“We’d love to know what the resolution of that resolution was.”

Former Adelaide star Josh Jenkins echoed Ralph’s remarks on SEN Breakfast. “There’s a bit to sort of digest and get your head around,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approach this, whether they sort of shut it down and say it’s in the past and our performance has done the talking or have to dignify this with a proper response.

“Because they won the flag, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the story. You can’t just be accused of workplace bullying and do whatever you want in the workplace but because you win, it doesn’t matter and it all goes away. That’s not how it works.

“The fact that the chief, Gil (McLachlan), felt the need to step in … and even went as far to say, ‘You need to consider removing him if his behaviour warrants’. That’s pretty strong.

“The fact that Gillon said that he was down at the pub gambling and drinking, that’s not gigantic to me. I’ve seen that before in my time, a coach trying to bond and have a good time with their players and show they’re human as well. That’s not a massive story. But the fact that the chief of the AFL has stepped in and said you need to give this some consideration about removing him, that’s pretty big.”

Ex-Melbourne star David Schwarz also voiced his concern on Tuesday over the alarming allegations.

“For them to look at it there must have been serious concern at Simon and his behaviour,” Schwarz told 3AW.

“He has had a wretched run with it (gambling) and to put it in front of young vulnerable men … I don’t think it is a great look.

“I think he needs to distance himself from that sort of behaviour.

“I don’t mind them having a beer but I think sitting down for a long time and gambling with players … there needs to be a separation.

“He is their boss.”

Goodwin was named 2021 Coach of the Year at last year’s AFL Coaches Association awards having won a premiership with the Demons.

Melbourne defeated the Western Bulldogs 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66) in the AFL Grand Final at Perth’s Optus Stadium to clinch its first flag since 1964.

Goodwin’s gambling led him to being suspended as a player in 2007 after he placed four bets involving AFL matches totalling $16,024.58.

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