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Demons defend premiership coach Goodwin

Melbourne have backed Simon Goodwin as historic accusations of bullying and improper behaviour about the AFL premiership coach came to light.

A News Corp report on Tuesday revealed former Demons president Glen Bartlett was deeply concerned by Goodwin’s alleged behaviour at the club, and his off-field activities.

Leaked documents revealed club hierarchy discussed standing the 45-year-old down from his role.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan even became aware of allegations surrounding Goodwin.

But Melbourne president Kate Roffey called Goodwin an “exceptional leader” and was proud of his role in the transforming the club into a powerhouse.

A club review at the end of the 2020 season, conducted by Demons chief executive Gary Pert, cleared Goodwin to continue coaching.

After missing finals in 2019 and 2020, Melbourne took all before them last season to break a 57-year premiership drought.

“I want to make this very clear, I look forward to Simon continuing to evolve as a coach and leader at the Melbourne Football Club for many more years to come,” Roffey said.

“As part of the review Gary (Pert) spoke to over 40 people both internal and external to the club including players, coaches, and staff.

“All feedback and conversations were taken incredibly seriously and followed through using the club’s standard governance processes.

“As previously communicated to Melbourne supporters, the review reaffirmed Simon Goodwin as the right man to lead our club, and ultimately to drive us to premiership success.

“As expected from any review, the final recommendations outlined areas for improvement for several key staff within the football program, that feedback was given and welcomed by Simon and others as a way of improving our young leaders who are driving the cultural change.

“Simon, like many others within the department, was given this feedback and embraced the opportunity it provided to evolve and improve as a coach.

“During these feedback discussions, Simon totally rejected any accusations of bullying behaviour and as the club president, I totally support Simon rejecting those accusations.

“Simon is an inclusive leader who is loved by the players, coaches and staff and goes out of his way to build genuine relationships throughout the football department and broader club.”

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