Fremantle great Paul Hasleby has put the heat on a number of “selfish” Demons after Melbourne bowed out of the finals race on Friday night.
A two-point loss to Carlton marked the second consecutive game where the Demons had enjoyed more scoring shots but gone on to lose the game. It saw Simon Goodwin’s side crash out of the finals in straight sets for the second year running.
The 2021 breakthrough premiership came on the back of several Demons transforming their game into a team-first mentality. But on what he saw in the Semi Final loss, Hasleby is concerned some Melbourne players have fallen back into old habits.
“I think part of this is a selfish nature with Melbourne,” he told SEN WA’s The Run Home of Melbourne’s 2023 finals struggles.
“If you look at a lot of their shots, they’re from ground balls inside 50. There are blokes like Christian Petracca who get it and they’ve only got eyes for one thing, Petracca. He showed that he can do it and he goes for the goals every single time.
“I’ll say exactly the same about Kysaiah Pickett. He’s a great player, but there are too many times where he gets himself in a good position inside 50 and he gets lazy around his body or he tries to go too quick or he doesn’t look for somebody in a better position.
“Bayley Fritsch is exactly the same.”
Inaccuracy also hurt Melbourne against the Blues, with both Fritsch and Pickett booting 2.3 in the loss to Carlton.
Hasleby believes Max Gawn and Jack Viney too need to improve their game in sharing the ball with teammates.
However, he suggested those issues could stem from a failure at the coaching level.
“Gawn and also Viney, I believe, need to use their teammates more. This is being super critical, but I’ve thought this about Viney. He wants to kick the ball every single time, you've got to know your strengths,” Hasleby continued.
“He’s not a great kick. There are times when he can handball and give it to somebody in a different position. Max Gawn is the same, gets it from the ruck, runners go by, (he doesn’t pass it), quick kick out of the stoppage and often straight back to the opposition.
“You’ve got to stay in your lanes and know your ability. I think that’s part of coaching, but if I was coaching Melbourne and Jack Viney, I’d say ‘mate, you’re just an average kick… if you have a chance to give it to somebody running past, use that option’.
“But I think there is a little bit of selfishness in their forward 50 that’s crept into that team.”