Shepparton News

Goodwin welcomes weight of history

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Melbourne: Simon Goodwin hopes the ghosts of past preliminar­y finals haunt Geelong and spare Melbourne tonight at Optus Stadium.

Since their most recent premiershi­p in 2011, the Cats have won only seven of 21 finals – and four of those losses have been in prelims.

While Melbourne have much less finals experience, Goodwin thinks that might work to their advantage.

“There’s no doubt it comes down to execution, but sometimes there are some benefits in not knowing what’s in front of you, not having some of the scars that are associated with preliminar­y finals,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s a good thing. We have a good, healthy balance of experience and youth.

“It really comes down now to being able to stay in the moment and execute what you need.”

Of course, what Goodwin did not mention was Melbourne’s most recent preliminar­y final – a woeful 66-point loss to West Coast three years ago, also at Optus Stadium.

But history is proving equal parts millstone and inspiratio­n for the Demons as they try to snap the league’s longest premiershi­p drought. The curse of Norm Smith has plagued Melbourne since 1964 and they’re the feel-good story of this finals series.

Much more recent history is also buoying the Demons.

They are on a five-game winning streak, punctuated by their last-round miracle against the Cats.

Melbourne trailed by 44 points in the third quarter – at Geelong – before storming home. A goal to captain Max Gawn after the final siren gave the Demons their first minor premiershi­p in 57 years.

“You can draw a lot of belief, in terms of how you play, and that the game is never over,” Goodwin said.

“It certainly builds belief that we can do it from any position and obviously against (Geelong) it was only four weeks ago, so that builds a little bit of belief.

“But … it’s a new challenge. We need to execute and that’s the challenge for any team at this time of year.”

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 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Delighted: Melbourne players celebrate after skipper Max Gawn kicked the match-winning goal against Geelong in round 23.
Picture: AAP Delighted: Melbourne players celebrate after skipper Max Gawn kicked the match-winning goal against Geelong in round 23.

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