Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin. Picture: Getty Images
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin. Picture: Getty Images

Greats slam Dees’ attitude problem

AFL greats Wayne Carey and Rodney Eade say an attitude problem is to blame for Melbourne's horrible defensive woes.

The Demons were widely considered premiership frontrunners in the pre-season, but are languishing with only one win from the first five rounds after Saturday's loss to St Kilda.

Coach Simon Goodwin has been urged to make a strong selection statement ahead of a must-win clash against Richmond on Wednesday night in the Anzac Day eve match at the MCG.

It is where Melbourne's leaky defence will attempt to contain one of the best key forward combinations in the league, with Richmond premiership spearhead Jack Riewoldt expected to return from injury alongside new recruit Tom Lynch.

But, after a summer of hype, former North Melbourne star Carey said the major cause for concern for the Dees was above the shoulders.

"Clearly, Melbourne think they are better than what they are, from the outside looking in," Carey said.

"That's the attitude, 'we are better than what we are'."

Melbourne spearhead Tom McDonald is in a rut, and was shifted up to a wing in the fourth-term on Saturday, while veteran Jordan Lewis was another who struggled in his comeback from injury.

Simon Goodwin hasn’t been able to get his players to respond. Picture: Getty Images
Simon Goodwin hasn’t been able to get his players to respond. Picture: Getty Images

Back-up ruckman Braydon Preuss is also dealing with a right shoulder issue.

Former coach and four-time premiership Hawk Eade said the Demons had lost some of their hunger.

"Last year they were manic in the attack in the footy, and you still see (Clayton) Oliver's attack on the footy, but I don't see the others as hard as they were last year," Eade said.

"I don't think they're running hard enough and it is five weeks in a row, now. You can't use (injuries) as an excuse."

Melbourne's defence has been exposed without injured pair Steve May (groin) and Jake Lever (knee), while Oscar McDonald was dropped last week.

May will push to play against the Tigers, while there have been calls to swing Tom McDonald back into a key defensive position.

Tom McDonald is in a bad form slump. Picture: Getty Images
Tom McDonald is in a bad form slump. Picture: Getty Images

"Tom McDonald just can't touch it, he's struggling," champion Hawk Leigh Matthews said on Channel 7.

Goodwin's men have been the easiest team to score against from the opposition's defensive 50m arc this season - conceding 22 points a game.

The Saints piled on six goals from the back line on Saturday.

"Melbourne just can't defend and they've shown all year they're like Swiss cheese, the holes come from everywhere," Carey said.

"And it's the ease of which they get scored against which is really troubling for me."

Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon said the Demons folded under the Saints' pressure, and needed to respond against the Tigers.

"Melbourne capitulated," he said.

"There will be a lot of soul-searching. The heat will settle very comfortably at Melbourne this week, and it should, too.

"They look slow and sluggish."