Paul Roos says too many Melbourne players came back in poor physical shape for them to be a premiership contender, believing the Demons are heading for a bottom-four finish.
Former Melbourne coach Roos said the club’s game style in the first five rounds was “terrible”, stunned by their horror early start to the year.
Melbourne players have hit out at star recruit Steven May for his poor shape but Roos said his understanding was many players were unfit when they returned.
He stepped up his fight against the AFL’s player union, adamant clubs should have more control over their players all year.
AFLPA boss Paul Marsh this week said it was nonsense to suggest players had too much time off, saying most of them trained close to every day of the year.
But Roos believes Melbourne’s lack of conditioning — combined with another three-week break over Christmas — has been telling as they start the season with a 1-4 win-loss record.
“What I am hearing is a number of Melbourne people were disappointed with the conditioning,’’ he told 3AW.
“Steven May is on record and Simon Goodwin was disappointed with the way he came back. If you have got a whole group of players who come back poorly it’s a huge, huge disadvantage.
“I believe (it’s) across the board. To be fair to Jack Viney and a few others they did have operations.
“If they are coming back poorly that is three weeks wasted because all you are doing is getting them back into shape and now they have three weeks off again with the PA.”
Paul Roos says Melbourne players returned in poor shape. Picture: Getty Images
Marsh told the Herald Sun on Saturday the idea players had huge chunks of time off was “one of the greatest misnomers in the industry” given how much training they did away from clubs.
Roos disagrees and believes clubs should be able to help players keep fit over their off-season break.
“There is a perception you have so much time off, perhaps I am not a full-time footballer. I just happen to be playing football as a vocation. They have to get that out of their mind,” he said.
“They have to drive their own careers and say ‘I don’t care what the PA think’.
Roos said it was hard to see what Melbourne’s coaches should rectify first given the team’s myriad issues.
“May is injured and Lever isn’t coming back (soon). Mitch Hannan and Aaron vandenBerg too. The confidence is eroded, the game style is terrible at the moment.
“There is no connection between the mids and forwards and they are the easiest team to score against statistically. The bigger problem is they need to fix something but there are so many things going wrong with their footy team it’s hard to know where to start.
“They are a bottom four team at the moment. They are a genuine bottom four team the way they are playing at the moment.”