Dees’ emotional victory
SIMON Goodwin laid on his bed in Melbourne’s Joondalup resort on the morning of grand final day and cried.
Not because he was afraid of losing the showpiece match at Perth’s Optus Stadium, and not ending the Demons’ 57year premiership drought.
But because of just how far the Demons group had come.
In the lead-up to the club’s first grand final since 2000, Goodwin found time to go to a beachside pub in Perth for a parma and a pot to reflect on the club’s rise in recent years.
“I was reflecting on where our club has come from, the impact of our leaders, our footy department and how far they have taken our club and the amount of people back home and the supporters and the past players,” he said.
“The messages from people saying how proud they are of us, that’s what really resonated with me and it was a really good piece of reflection.
“And I think this brings it all together.”
But while he was quite calm during the week, on Saturday morning the emotions hit Goodwin.
“I was laying on my bed crying thinking of how proud I was of the group,” he said.
“I spoke at a team meeting last night and I got a little bit emotional there because of how far they have come.
“Two years ago we were 17th, it’s a long way back to the top and to play the way we played. It’s a big rise.”
It isn’t just a big rise for the club.
The two-time premiership winner as an Adelaide Crows player came into the 2021 campaign as arguably the most under pressure coach in the competition.
Just over 12 months prior to Saturday night’s drought breaker the Demons’ now departed president Glen Bartlett savaged Goodwin and the players after a horrific loss to Port Adelaide.
Bartlett said they had “tarnished” the jumper with their efforts.
Demons superstar Clayton Oliver said the players weren’t performing for Goodwin.
“It was probably our fault, as players we weren’t delivering and playing well and gelling as a team,” Oliver said.
“He was doing nothing wrong and he was copping all the heat for it, what he was working towards finally came through this year.
“Because we all bought into what Goody wanted.”
But key in this was Goodwin making changes to his approach.
“I certainly questioned myself in 2019, because I could feel the game was getting a hold of me,” he said.
“The pressure, and stress, I was investing a lot and it was wearing me down emotionally.
“But I got some mentors away from the game and away from footy and they were just different.
“They worked with me on when to have energy and what to give energy to, when to let go. And to just be me.
“I wasn’t being me and we made some significant shifts last year as a footy club, we won six of the last nine on the way home and that went on into this year.
“I got back to smiling, I got back to loving the game and having fun.”