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Jonathan Steffanoni

The Missing Ingredient

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Something is seriously wrong at our Melbourne Football Club.

We have slumped to one of our lowest points, and I don't need to provide the detail as to where we're at, it's plain and obvious for all to see. What's most troubling is the uneasy quiet of concession by members and supporters that we no longer even care to feel the hurt any more. This spells very dangerous times for the club.

In such a position, we tend to seek answers as to what's missing, or what we can do to turn things around. Is it the coaching staff? Is it the players? Is it our foot skills? Decisions making? Willingness to run? Is it the administration? Is it the strategy? Is it the recruiting? What can we change?...

The reality is that like all AFL clubs, we have a capable administration, playing list and coaching staff. Capability doesn't bring success, nor does it even bring competitiveness. I love Australian Rules Football because it is not just by measurable and definite qualities that can ensure success, as success comes to those who believe that it is theirs to take, and that they can take it.

The MFC lacks confident self belief.

The players don't believe that they can win.

The supporters don't believe that we can win.

The coaching staff must be beginning to have doubts.

The administration must also be doubting our ability to win.

The thing about confident self belief is that it holds a very strong inertia. It's contagious and self affirming. It feeds on itself, with success breeding confident self belief, and confident self belief breeding success. It's distinct from false or extrinsic belief, it can't be learned. It must be boldly asserted. It's elusive yet real, I know myself playing that I could do amazing things when confident, and the opposite true when I wasn't.

The other side of the equation holds equally true. The lack of confident self belief ensures failure, which in turn compounds the lack of self belief. Like any unsuccessful person or organisation, this is the condition we find ourselves in.

We often look to the wrong things to resolve this condition. Changes to the personnel (be it playing, coaching or administration) are not an effective remedy to the condition, as there is never a complete turnover of personnel.

Every MFC player that runs out shares a common thread of Red & Blue with every player who has played. There's a large part of last week's team in every round. It's been that way for 154 years. Even if there were a wholesale change in personnel, the condition exists in the entity of the club itself through the image it has in the mind of the general public. We can't dig ourselves out of this hole by changing personnel, so let's just kill that idea here and now.

How can we develop confident belief?

Here's a positive. Confident self belief is contagious, so once we start to develop it, the inertia of it can help it to feed itself. The difficult part is finding out where it comes from at such a low point.

This is something which can't be forced, but may be taken by any true leaders at the club (whoever they may be), and then slowly transferred. There is an opportunity for every player on our list to simply become great by starting to lead. There's nothing formal about leadership, it's open to all.

Where and when this spark will come I don't know, but a good starting point is an awareness of this. Every player and official at the club needs to know that they are capable, that they do have the ability to win a premiership, all they need to do is just assert it, because success is there for the taking, but only for those who are prepared to take it.

Who will stand up?

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Want to fix this mess than its back to the draft and free agency.

Matt Rendell should be given the recruitment/drafting job (Mifsud has no credability in that saga)

Free agency will be tough for us I can't see many willingly wanting to come to us we will have to pay overs.

I have about 6 senior players who are playing for their careers and credibility.

They had better enjoy the next 14 weeks I reckon it will be their last.

Self belief will only come when the dead wood is cut.

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Want to fix this mess than its back to the draft and free agency.

Matt Rendell should be given the recruitment/drafting job (Mifsud has no credability in that saga)

Free agency will be tough for us I can't see many willingly wanting to come to us we will have to pay overs.

I have about 6 senior players who are playing for their careers and credibility.

They had better enjoy the next 14 weeks I reckon it will be their last.

Self belief will only come when the dead wood is cut.

While I understand the frustration of it all, I think it's an easy way out to say that we need to recruit such and such, or de-list these players... The reality of it is that we will have a playing list which is not dissimilar to this year's, and this year's isn't that different to last years.

Our malaise is psychological just as much as Geelong's recent success largely comes down to similar intangibles. The club and players need to be honest about this before we can start to turn the corner.

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Herald Sun, Tuesday June 15, 1993. Melbourne walloped Collingwood the previous day, Jakovich kicking 9.

Jakovich told the paper, "You just play the game with passion ... it's just the love of the game. There's no better feeling."

That's what's missing - the love of the game, above all else. We seem to have lost touch with that, all of us - not just the players. Balme admitted that Jakovich wouldn't chase, but he loved him anyway, for what he was. Garry Lyon said of Jakovich, "Sometimes, after he's kicked a goal you run in to congratulate him and he's talking to himself: 'Just get it up to me. I'll take em all on!'"

I bet Jack Watts as a boy felt that naive exuberance - and that sense of ownership. Didn't they all? So get it simple again - this is what Malthouse is recommending too, apparently... Rediscover the joy of it - that's the missing ingredient. We should be going for and celebrating every good thing we can manufacture, and encouraging players to go for the peaks. Jakovich admitted he felt a bit of a dh afterwards, seeing the replay of his arm-waving - but he loved it anyway and it was infectious and we won games.

Remember Wonna and the effect he had on all of us? And out of each moment of exulting will come a bit more belief. (Oh yeah - and add in a bit of tight defending when you need it, too.)

Edited by robbiefrom13
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Something is seriously wrong at our Melbourne Football Club.

We have slumped to one of our lowest points, and I don't need to provide the detail as to where we're at, it's plain and obvious for all to see. What's most troubling is the uneasy quiet of concession by members and supporters that we no longer even care to feel the hurt any more. This spells very dangerous times for the club.

In such a position, we tend to seek answers as to what's missing, or what we can do to turn things around. Is it the coaching staff? Is it the players? Is it our foot skills? Decisions making? Willingness to run? Is it the administration? Is it the strategy? Is it the recruiting? What can we change?...

The reality is that like all AFL clubs, we have a capable administration, playing list and coaching staff. Capability doesn't bring success, nor does it even bring competitiveness. I love Australian Rules Football because it is not just by measurable and definite qualities that can ensure success, as success comes to those who believe that it is theirs to take, and that they can take it.

The MFC lacks confident self belief.

The players don't believe that they can win.

The supporters don't believe that we can win.

The coaching staff must be beginning to have doubts.

The administration must also be doubting our ability to win.

The thing about confident self belief is that it holds a very strong inertia. It's contagious and self affirming. It feeds on itself, with success breeding confident self belief, and confident self belief breeding success. It's distinct from false or extrinsic belief, it can't be learned. It must be boldly asserted. It's elusive yet real, I know myself playing that I could do amazing things when confident, and the opposite true when I wasn't.

The other side of the equation holds equally true. The lack of confident self belief ensures failure, which in turn compounds the lack of self belief. Like any unsuccessful person or organisation, this is the condition we find ourselves in.

We often look to the wrong things to resolve this condition. Changes to the personnel (be it playing, coaching or administration) are not an effective remedy to the condition, as there is never a complete turnover of personnel.

Every MFC player that runs out shares a common thread of Red & Blue with every player who has played. There's a large part of last week's team in every round. It's been that way for 154 years. Even if there were a wholesale change in personnel, the condition exists in the entity of the club itself through the image it has in the mind of the general public. We can't dig ourselves out of this hole by changing personnel, so let's just kill that idea here and now.

How can we develop confident belief?

Here's a positive. Confident self belief is contagious, so once we start to develop it, the inertia of it can help it to feed itself. The difficult part is finding out where it comes from at such a low point.

This is something which can't be forced, but may be taken by any true leaders at the club (whoever they may be), and then slowly transferred. There is an opportunity for every player on our list to simply become great by starting to lead. There's nothing formal about leadership, it's open to all.

Where and when this spark will come I don't know, but a good starting point is an awareness of this. Every player and official at the club needs to know that they are capable, that they do have the ability to win a premiership, all they need to do is just assert it, because success is there for the taking, but only for those who are prepared to take it.

Who will stand up?

What a fantastic post! You are amongst the few on here that get it, MFC1858.

And, oh the irony, that it's followed up immediately with a reply that misses the point entirely.

I have deliberately not posted recently, as I do during the worst of the wrist slitting and scapegoating sessions that occur so regularly on here. But I think your post deserves to be pinned.

By no means am I stating that everything is hunky dory, and yes, we may need to do some pretty serious tinkering, but the calls to clean out the playing list, coaching staff and/or administration that are all over this board are just outright ridiculous.

The start of the rise of the Melbourne FC needs to come from within. And self belief, group belief, and love of the game need to be at the heart of it. We simply don't have these right now. And, it's up to everyone, but particularly Neeld, to germinate some. He's an ex-school teacher, so the job should be right up his alley. Can he do it?

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Outstanding post MFC

It's time for this club to look within to remedy the malaise that effects this club. For too long we have sought the soft option or the easy answer and this in turn has eroded the moral fibre and fortitude of this club.

No more white knights, no more tanking and no more knee jerk reactions. It's time that the MFC stood firm and stare down it's inner demons. It's time for the MFC and it's supporters to grow a spine and stand our ground.To do otherwise would be cowardly and I suspect ultimately suicidal.

I am probably older than most who post on this forum and over the last 47 years supporting this club I have witnessed the same pattern of self destruction repeat it's self time and again. To again look for the soft option or quick fix would be just repeating the same behaviour.

Its time this club stood resolute and unequivocally supported Mark Neeld and the football department to rebuild this club inside out. We have no other option we running out of time. To over turn the coaching staff, Admin or board would be the without doubt the stupidest thing we have ever done, and I have witnessed some monumental stupidity perpetuated by this club. We would become not just a joke but pariahs within the Football industry. As for who will stand up for this club. I believe Mark Neeld will be that Man. Ably supported by ALL OF US. ( Hope to see you in the trenches comrades ).

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It's HELL in the trenches, just we're DEMONS roam, I believe!

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No doubt the entire club needs to look very seriously at every level of what it does and WHAT IT IS.

Jimmy Stynes started the job God Bless Him, but it is far from sorted.

The club needs to open up to the shareholders. We need to know a lot more. Because at present this club is no more than a con job.

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Let's not forget that the young fellas come to us with exuberance and amazing skills.

In some ways, that flair is coached out of them.....but, there is no excuse for lack of preparation, elite fitness and the appetite for a contest.

At the moment, 90 - 95% of our players are not up to acceptable standards.

Footy is an ever changing chameleon and every player needs to be ready and adapt. FWIW, I watched the 2005 Grand Final and it seemed to me like I was watching a game that was 20 years old!!!

Like Outside fifty said, Mark Neeld knows success and I hope he succeeds - we ALL have to get ready for the ride and dig in.

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Let's not forget that the young fellas come to us with exuberance and amazing skills.

In some ways, that flair is coached out of them.....but, there is no excuse for lack of preparation, elite fitness and the appetite for a contest.

Your second sentence - it doesn't have to be an either/or.

Preparation and fitness and appetite for the contest, ADDED TO the flair and existing skills, so that the exuberance is only increased - isn't that the right balance?

"In some ways" - well, get rid of those ways: they are not necessary, not helping...(if that is what's happening).

Edited by robbiefrom13

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I think you are spot on. Against the Swans we kicked two points while they kicked two goals, and you could see the confidence evaporate.

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Great post 1858

Tell me, are YOU the psychological that this team, in fact this whole club, so desperately needs?

To me the big missing ingredient is PASSION. Passion for the game, passion for the club, the fans, the contest. How does one instil this?

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Great post 1858

Tell me, are YOU the psychological that this team, in fact this whole club, so desperately needs?

To me the big missing ingredient is PASSION. Passion for the game, passion for the club, the fans, the contest. How does one instil this?

I think that the players need to get this message, and it should be delivered by somebody who the players respect.

I'm not the only one who knows this, I believe Mark Neeld knows it. All true champions know this in every field or pursuit.I think he may be struggling to get this message digested by the playing group.

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The players have to look each other in the eye and say "i am going to bleed for you today".

They have to come off the ground completely spent..drenched in hard working sweat. (for each other)

They have to play like Animals...or at least like Tadgh Kennellys Grandmother!

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The coach didn't believe in us. This is the problem. Look at sheedy, Mathews, Roos, they held a spiritua belief. Neeld has cut us and slashed us, and we are now paying the price.

Someone else said it, neeld has not got emotional intelligence. He is spiritually inept.

He will not last the distance IMO.

Too many supporters blindly follow the leader. Ask yourself, does mark neeld get the best out of the players. Yes or no.

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The coach didn't believe in us. This is the problem. Look at sheedy, Mathews, Roos, they held a spiritua belief. Neeld has cut us and slashed us, and we are now paying the price.

Someone else said it, neeld has not got emotional intelligence. He is spiritually inept.

He will not last the distance IMO.

Too many supporters blindly follow the leader. Ask yourself, does mark neeld get the best out of the players. Yes or no.

I think that Mark Neeld does believe, but the playing group does not. Malthouse aluded to this when he recently said players needed love. Working them hard and tough is the first step, which I believe has been done well. The second step of installing confidence is where we have fallen over. The blame falls on the players as much as the coaching staff. The remedy is to be found from within, not externally. It is as simple as that, the darkest hour is just before dawn. While we can't see the light now, somebody will stand up, a few will follow, then we will click.

The players are hurting now, we are all hurting. It takes a leader to stand up like Neita's hit on NcCabe and goal. The opportunity is there for whoever is willing to take it.

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The club may lack positive self belief, but it is obvious that certain senior players don't. Theirs would probably be best served to be brought down a few pegs.

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The coach didn't believe in us. This is the problem. Look at sheedy, Mathews, Roos, they held a spiritua belief. Neeld has cut us and slashed us, and we are now paying the price.

Someone else said it, neeld has not got emotional intelligence. He is spiritually inept.

He will not last the distance IMO.

Too many supporters blindly follow the leader. Ask yourself, does mark neeld get the best out of the players. Yes or no.

What an absolute load of garbage. Have you met the guy? Was Dean Bailey getting the best out our players in Geelong last year? Did Neale Daniher get the best out the players in the odd years?

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Missing ingredients: effort and trust. You can't win games of footy if you're not trusting the guy next to you. Each contest that is shirked, each opposition mark that is taken uncontested, and each yard that is jogged instead of run diminishes the trust a little more. This is why the likes of Moloney and Sylvia must go and be replaced with those who will have a dip. The bleeding has to stop.

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The missing ingredient is "white line fever".

i think the whole players v schwab, and now players v Neeld has ben embellished to a point where it could make it as a mid day soap opera.

No matter how upset some members of the playing group could be at the way Bailey/Schwab/Neeld have handled things, i cannot believe that this can translate to on field performances where 90% of the team seem to show a lack of desire. I think blaming schwab or neeld is a cop out. its probably easier to take than accepting that our players are spoilt brats who dont have the competative streak thats required to make it in a top line AFL side

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On Saturday night we saw glimpses of this confidence and belief which we need. I think it came about because of a few different things:

i) We beat them last year with pretty much the same team;

ii) Our defence held up early (and they wasted some opportunities), keeping us in the game. As time ticked by, the players would have started to think "Hey, we can actually win this";

iii) The criticism that we've copped over the last few weeks will have stripped back any illusions that results would come without hard work.

It shows that at the centre of a winning team is the intangible spirit amongst the playing group, our strategy was nothing special, and the team was pretty much the same as that against the Swans.

We really wanted the victory, and we took it!

Let's build on this. We can do it.

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