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The top 5 MFC coaches of your lifetime


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1 hour ago, Diamond_Jim said:

Northey gave a club hope for that he deserves No 1

As much as I enjoyed the 2021 premiership the roller coaster ride of 1987 and 1988 will forever be with me.

2. Goodwin

3. Daniher

4. Balme

5. Not sure.... I'm a little ambivalent on the Roo's legacy... personally I'd give it to Yze and Choco because there is little doubt they provided some magic dust for Goodwin's success

My thoughts exactly on Roos. Easiest coaching gig in the world is one where you have no onfield expectations, and you have a finite departure date. I judge him by his win/loss record.

I have the same order:

1. Swooper Northey

2. Goody

3. Danners

4. Balmey

5. Bobby Skilton. 1976 was as close as we got to playing finals till Swooper took over.

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5 minutes ago, mo64 said:

My thoughts exactly on Roos. Easiest coaching gig in the world is one where you have no onfield expectations, and you have a finite departure date. I judge him by his win/loss record.

I have the same order:

1. Swooper Northey

2. Goody

3. Danners

4. Balmey

5. Bobby Skilton. 1976 was as close as we got to playing finals till Swooper took over.

You really think Roos had an easy gig? The Football Department was completely shot when he walked in. 
There is no 13th without Roos. He was worth every cent

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3 minutes ago, Sir Why You Little said:

You really think Roos had an easy gig? The Football Department was completely shot when he walked in. 
There is no 13th without Roos. He was worth every cent

We'll agree to disagree.

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1. Swooper - he was quite remarkable.  Finals for 5 consecutive years, winning at least one final every year between 1987 and 1991.  Broke a 23 year finals drought and had more success against Hawthorn in their golden era than any other side.

2. Goodwin - he's a premiership coach

3. Danners - he did well considering the third world conditions he operated with compared to most other clubs.

4. RDB - 5 years of toil which introduced a group of players who were constantly competitive under Northey.

5. Balme - he was very unlucky with injury from 1995.  1993 we were stiff not to make finals, 1994 we made the prelim.  The planets just never aligned for him.

Roos did his job and was clearly a great club and culture builder.  

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Being born in the 80's, I didn't see any glory years under Smith.  So here goes:

  1. Goodwin.  Premierships always go to the top of the list and get the A+
  2. Daniher.  A lot of my teenage years were riding on the great man getting us up week after week with a team that I never really thought had enough talent to get us there.  We always lacked quality mids and he somehow, in the even years, got us fired up
  3. Roos.  He basically brought back hope and made the club relevant again.
  4. Northey.  He was the first coach of the dees I remember getting the boot as a kid and it really stuck with me as I never thought things like that happened.  
  5. Bailey.  Something different and most will disagree but premierships are won with a new game plan/style and his ultra attacking style I thought was going to get us there.  

 I still remember in his last year in 2011 that we were sitting 7 and 7 half way through the year and young players like Grimes, Trengove, Scully, Morton, McKenzie and Gysberts.  Other than Scully, we never saw any of the others fire a shot after he finished sadly.

We don't need to talk about what happened then but I always rated how he kept playing the kids putting the future of the club first whilst getting good things out of Sylvia and Moloney especially with great things then from Jamar and Green.

I probably see him differently to a lot of others here but I always wanted him to really succeed after he left us and prove to the AFL world that he belonged in a coaching box somewhere.

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6 minutes ago, Deeko2 said:

Being born in the 80's, I didn't see any glory years under Smith.  So here goes:

  1. Goodwin.  Premierships always go to the top of the list and get the A+
  2. Daniher.  A lot of my teenage years were riding on the great man getting us up week after week with a team that I never really thought had enough talent to get us there.  We always lacked quality mids and he somehow, in the even years, got us fired up
  3. Roos.  He basically brought back hope and made the club relevant again.
  4. Northey.  He was the first coach of the dees I remember getting the boot as a kid and it really stuck with me as I never thought things like that happened.  
  5. Bailey.  Something different and most will disagree but premierships are won with a new game plan/style and his ultra attacking style I thought was going to get us there.  

 I still remember in his last year in 2011 that we were sitting 7 and 7 half way through the year and young players like Grimes, Trengove, Scully, Morton, McKenzie and Gysberts.  Other than Scully, we never saw any of the others fire a shot after he finished sadly.

We don't need to talk about what happened then but I always rated how he kept playing the kids putting the future of the club first whilst getting good things out of Sylvia and Moloney especially with great things then from Jamar and Green.

I probably see him differently to a lot of others here but I always wanted him to really succeed after he left us and prove to the AFL world that he belonged in a coaching box somewhere.

Dean Bailey was a very nice guy. But I still have bad memories on some of the drafting during his tenure. Cook at pick 12 to never play game, Gysberts at 11, Tapscott at 19. Plus Junior was let go way too early. Neeld was a poor coach, but bloody hell inheriting that list is the equivalent of being up s**t creek without a paddle. 

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Mark Neeld, i think his record speaks for itself, his elite football university is probably why we won the 2022 flag, for some reason. 

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23 minutes ago, TheWiz said:

Dean Bailey was a very nice guy. But I still have bad memories on some of the drafting during his tenure. Cook at pick 12 to never play game, Gysberts at 11, Tapscott at 19. Plus Junior was let go way too early. Neeld was a poor coach, but bloody hell inheriting that list is the equivalent of being up s**t creek without a paddle. 

Well I think this further speaks to Bailey's ability as he was able to have this ordinary list on the cusp of finals.  I just checked and we were 9th as at the end of Round 17, one win from the 8.  This is the exact reason I always felt for him as he was doing very well with not a lot behind him and pumping games into kids who ended up not making it.

I don't doubt my thoughts are probably crazy to what others think about him.  I just saw a guy who made the decision to play kids at all cost with a view to the clubs future over his own and managed to get really good things out of some average players that we had.

edit:  I don't know who makes the final decision on the recruiting, coach or list managed or other.  At the time however I was thrilled with Tapscott and saw a massive future in Gysberts who had a cracking first few games.  Cook - yep, we shanked that one.

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Northey & Daniher both raised us from the mire before the league was equalised. Northey had me leaving the footy a happy lad for the first time.

Goody will continue his rise & I can't stop thinking of that bit in GF captured by 'Sound the Siren' start of the 3rd, where I was nervous to the point of hurling:

'great time to be alive' 

Apocalypse Now stuff!

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29 minutes ago, Dwight Schrute said:

Mark Neeld, i think his record speaks for itself, his elite football university is probably why we won the 2022 flag, for some reason. 

How many frothies have you had tonight, Dwight? 🥴🍻

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I am old enough to remember the glory years so Norm Smith is my obvious number 1

Northey

Goodwin

Daniher

Balme

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1. Goodwin - Broke the Premiership drought. Nothing more need be said.

2. Northey - Coached a tough team that made 5 consecutive finals series, making a Grand Final and probably could have gone all the way in 90. Also did it without the top end talent of some other teams.

3. Daniher - Great promoter of the club when we were well behind the rest of the league in resources. Amazing effort making the Grand Final in 2000 and what could have been in 1998?

4. Roos - Came to the club at its darkest end and helped give the players purpose and supporters something to cheer for and see progress on the field.

5. Barassi - Similar to Roos, came to the club at a dark time and helped lift standards along with the likes of Slug Jordan and helped lay a platform for Northey.

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Skilton was pretty good

Didnt have much to work with 

Think the players loved him

Ditterich gave his all

Crashed and bashed and

led from the front

Northey was my favourite 

Loved his passion 

I was Lucky to start going to games in 62 

So Smithy obviously the best

Beckwith a gentleman and Great of the club

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1 Goodwin

2 Roos

3 Daniher

4 Northey

5 Balme

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Goodwin.

First coach to get us to a flag in my lifetime. Can't beat that

Northey 

I still remember how utterly hopeless we were in the 80s. I was reminded every Monday in Primary school as the one of only three Demons supporters in my year level. The fact he got us to a Grand Final in 1988 and we got over the line in 87 (I was at the Whitten Oval), to give Flower his first ever final in a club that had a rag-tag list, an import from Ireland in Stynes and horrid facilities was massive. Absolutely massive. 

Daniher

Even though he rarely had a Plan B on game day and put his faith in under performers for too long - selection pressure wasn't a thing on the Boulevard, he still managed to get us to a GF with arguably the worst facilities any team had in the league and had to do this after picking up the pieces after the whole merger debacle

Roos

Got us back on track, mentored Goodwin, cleared out most of the dead-wood and drove the standards and culture that we have today. His impact on the club cannot ever be under-estimated. 

Balme

Kind of have Balme at a tie with Roos in rebuilding a list for Neale to take over. Difference here is Goodwin got the flag, Danners didn't. 

That is all. No disrespect to Bails here but no way would a Roos, Clarkson or Matthews have put up with Schwab and his meddling. His parting shot out the door lacked class too. But RIP mate, you had a thankless job and a gutless, cowardly employer. 

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8 hours ago, Colin B. Flaubert said:

With Goody re-signing for two more years today, I though this would be a good time to post this as it's been something that I've been thinking about for a while since Goody won the flag.

I've experienced 7 coaches during my lifetime and for years and years, Neale was the best coach I had seen. Most people would automatically place a premiership coach at the top of any list and our 2021 has made me slightly reassess my view of who the best coach of my lifetime has been.

Thus, I'd like to provide my list and see what others think in terms of the best coaches of their lifetime. The rules are that they need to be full time coaches (not interim coaches or when they were coaches in waiting like Goody in '14-'16) and had to be coaching while you have been alive. Norm Smith is a monty for most people based on his record alone, but if you didn't see him coach the team, then he can't go on your list. While your entries don't have to be as wordy as mine (I love a good tl:dr post), if you could give some reasoning to your entry, then that would be brilliant.

So here we go.

1) Neale Daniher: I appreciate this could be perceived by many as a hot take, and I know that Neale has his legitimate detractors. I expect to get some flack for this opinion. However, I do have my logic for it which I'd like to explain and a caveat I'd like to put on it.

I've always wondered what kind of coach Neale would have been had he walked into a club that was functional and had a playing list that had the pure class of the one Goody had. From 1998 to 2006, our record for making the finals was the second best for Victorian teams behind Essendon. We made a grand final we probably shouldn't have played in (Carlton for mine were the second best team that year and were hit by the injury stick in the finals) against a team we were never going to beat. Every second or third year, there was some type of calamity facing the club: wooden spoons in '97 and the factions that emerged after the failed merger vote, salary cap breaches unveiled in 1999 resulting in us losing our draft picks and getting fined, board spills in 2001, Gardner admitting we were  losing 1 million dollars a week (correct me on the figure if you will) in 2002 before the competitive balance fund was thankfully put in, fights in pubs, training at Junction Oval with the portable offices with the dead possums in them, having to pass the hat around to find the salary for Aaron Davey because the club had no dedicated fund for drafting rookies, having to hold telethons to get members on the Footy Show in 2001, selling games etc. It wasn't an environment that was great for creating success.

Yet despite that, Neale got the absolute most out of what at times was a pretty patchwork list. His reign also saw two highly successful coaches get their spurs as assistants (Clarko was the runner and did some fitness work in Neale's first year and we all know about Chris Fagan) and other players were under his charge who became good assistant coaches as well (Ooze and Cam Bruce).

Neale was also the most diligent, committed and systematic coach of my time. No stone was left unturned, systems were put in place, his intensity and passion unquestioned and yet, his relationships with his players these days are still magnificent. He made his mistakes for sure (Woey's contract details getting made public was a big mistake and his reliance on certain blokes who probably let him down at times come to mind), but the overall package for mine is still the best.

His long term record over a longer period is what makes Neale still my number one coach. Now here is the caveat. I have no doubt that in the next 2 to 3 years he will become a clear 2nd spot on this list. Goody will have been at the club for a good seven years by the time his contract ends with potential for a stint of a decade. He clearly has the team to win further premiershps (while Neale had a good ordinary team at best) which was largely in the mix when he took up the hot seat. I think Goody himself has admitted that had he walked into the 2014 version of MFC as coach, he might not have had the longevity he has had. I think that had he gotten into a time machine and coached the 1998 Melbourne team, who knows what might have happened? Probably not best to work on counterfactuals and speculation, but because Neale did and eked out as much as he did, he still is my number one (barely).

2) Simon Goodwin: I have covered most of why I've put Goody here, and some might think I was putting Goody down. Trust me when I say that he is an absolutely sensational coach and will very likely be at the top of this list once his stint at Melbourne is over (barring a meltdown of epic proportions). 

I remember after Bails was sacked and Neeld was brought in, we were a fairly irascible and aggravated bunch on here. For us, the sole qualification that a head coach needed to have was the ability to bollock players in perpetuity until they ceded to the abuse and played well. Who would have thought that a bloke who, according to Ed Langdon, has yet to raise his voice since 2020 onwards has been only one of four men to be Melbourne premiership coaches? Goody knows who he is, is comfortable with being vulnerable, is a magnificent relationship builder and is often underestimated for his coaching nous. Binman pointed out that a lot of his moves in the 2021 season him  switching Dogga into the ruck and establishing the best zone defence since Collingwood's forward press in 2011 showed that he is no slouch on the tactical front.

He has also managed to overcome personal hardships as well. We've all had plenty of arguments over whether Bartlett was right to do what he did, but let's make no mistake, it did put Goody under the pump. He admitted he became a hermit at the end of 2020 and he needed to work on himself. It's pretty brave to admit that and we can see the results right now how tight he is with his team. They want to play for him and would run through a brick wall for him.

If all goes well in September, I look forward to revisiting this list in 4 months time to make him my definite number one as he will unambigiuously deserve it should we win another flag (or make another Grand Final or Prelim).

3) Swooper Northey: Similar to Neale in that while he had some genuinely good players under his charge (Garry Lyon, Jimmy Stynes, Todd Viney, Brett Lovett, Sean Wight), the list was kind of prosaic in certain places. He had lots of blokes who were decent triers but when they were put up against the Horrible Hawks, West Coast or Gary Ablett led Geelong teams, they just lacked that edge in genuine class. 

Swooper was very much a meat and potatoes coach, and it suited for the times. He was coach at the tail end of the amateur age so you didn't need to make things too difficult as a coach. You could definitely see he was a Tommy Hafey disciple, but it suited our blokes right down to the ground. 

I fell in love with the Melbourne Football Club when Swooper was coach so he will always hold a special place in my heart. His reign actually provided me with a slightly rude shock in 1997 as up until that point, I had only experienced highly competitive (if in hindsight flawed) Melbourne teams. When we won the spoon that year, it was the first time I'd seen a totally hopeless Melbourne team. 

Swooper also had decent showings at Brisbane and Richmond as well. A genuinely great Melbourne person. I wonder if he has life membership? I know Geelong granted Malcolm Blight life membership not long ago despite not being formally eligible. Swoop has definitely stayed true to the Demons (with a divided loyalty with Richmond).

4) Paul Roos: Paul Roos' record at first glance at Melbourne was ordinary if we just look at the numbers. Furthermore, his record at Sydney easily overshadows  Let's put that out there now.

However, that was never his brief. Anyone who has been on this board from 2013 onwards (I joined in 2012) would be familiar with what he was tasked with: rebuilding a club that was fundamentally broken. He definitely created the bedrock that Goody was able to build upon. He inherited a horrendous team and turned it into a solidly competitive one. Goody turned it into a premiership team. 

There has been plenty of debate about who deserved the most credit for last year's success: Goody or Roos? For mine, if Roosy had welched on his deal and coached the team into 2021, we wouldn't have won the flag. My feeling is that parts of the game plan he employed mightn't have stacked up as well with the 2021 game and while a great coach and master relationship builder, his persona was better at dragging teams out of the muck rather than the guy to take a team to the next level. With that said and as stated above, I have always felt that had Goody walked into the 2014 MFC as head coach, he mightn't have lasted more than 3 years. We really needed a bloke to make us respectable and Roosy was it.

5) Neil Balme: Ask me if Neil would have made my top 5 coaches in 1997 when I was a punk teenager, and I would have chortled at you. Around that time, I felt he was an oaf who had coddled the players excessively and used a game plan that was iconoclastic in terms of how football had been played for the sake of it. He was the first coach I had seen who had coached Melbourne to a spoon so that colored my perspective somewhat somewhat.

24 years down the track, I realize Balmey was probably ahead of his time but like ND, had walked into a situation that couldn't take full advantage of his talents. Look at those 2007 Geelong teams and you can definitely see his fingerprints all over the game plan (supposedly Bomber wanted a game plan that emphasized much more conservative ball movement). In hindsight, the roles he has taken up post Melbourne have suited his very laid back personality to an absolute tea. 

His early years at Melbourne weren't too shabby either. We would have made the finals in any other year beside 1993 (the greatest season that was). Our 1994 was up and down but by the time September came around, he had his best team on the ground and we reacted accordingly.  In the end, we played against a West Coast team that in the words of Paul Couch had been eating 'very good steaks' and it felt like we were the 8 year olds playing at the U 12 Auskick. But that year was one of our better ones based on who was on the pitch.

From 1995 onwards, it all turned to cow manure and Neil's personality probably prevented him from giving a few blokes a much needed bake. It was said that the embryotic signs of Hollywood Boulevard emerged on his watch (which would be a problem for the club in future decades). But among the seven coaches who have coached us, he is a definite top 5 pick. Bails might have gotten in but at the end of the day, he had no finals appearance and was a tale of wasted potential (and we have all been over the Neeld era so there is no need to rehash that).

 

I reckon they are in about the same order I would rate them.

The ones I would prefer to forget (but nice blokes) (in order)

1. Mark Neeld - 33 games for 5 wins 28 losses.

2. Dennis Jones - 22 Games for 5 wins and 17 losses

3. Bob Skilton - 88 Games for 28 wins and 60 losses

4. Neil Craig - 11 Games for 1 win and 10 losses

5. Mark Riley (by default and because I had to match you with 5 others )

                        - 9 games for 1 win and 8 losses.

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1 hour ago, David-Demon said:

I reckon they are in about the same order I would rate them.

The ones I would prefer to forget (but nice blokes) (in order)

1. Mark Neeld - 33 games for 5 wins 28 losses.

2. Dennis Jones - 22 Games for 5 wins and 17 losses

3. Bob Skilton - 88 Games for 28 wins and 60 losses

4. Neil Craig - 11 Games for 1 win and 10 losses

5. Mark Riley (by default and because I had to match you with 5 others )

                        - 9 games for 1 win and 8 losses.

Bob Skilton - 88 Games 28 wins 60 losses Winning Percentage 31.82% Best finish 6th in a 12 team comp

Paul Roos -   66 Games 21 wins 45 losses Winning Percentage 31.82% Best finish 11th in an 18 team comp

One is seen as the messiah by most, the other is seen as a pariah. 

Paul Roos last 2 games as coach:

Loss to a Carlton team that had lost their previous 9 games

Loss to Geelong by 111 points.

Off field things had turned around under Peter Jackson, buy on field we were still at a tipping point when Roos departed.

By 2019 and 2020, we had a coach whose job was on the line. Credit goes to the board and in particular Gary Pert for sticking fat with Goody. But a majority of credit goes to Goody and the coaching dept.

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Not to get into a sermon, but why are we still hung up on ‘worst’ coaches? 

I made this a top 5 coaches thread (as opposed to a rate all the coaches of your lifetime) specifically to avoid this type of negativity.

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