"Note the pause!"
Melbourne’s board has blasted “unsubstantiated” and “outrageous” accusations levelled against Demons coach Simon Goodwin.
The Demons have released a statement slamming the latest media report in former Melbourne president Glen Bartlett’s long-running dispute with the club.
Melbourne have confirmed WorkSafe Victoria is investigating matters at the club. Bartlett suddenly stepped down as president in April 2021, and was replaced by Kate Roffey, and has been at war with the Demons since.
“The board of the Melbourne Football Club unequivocally refute the unsubstantiated, historical and outrageous accusations against Simon Goodwin and other club leaders as published in today’s (Wednesday) Herald Sun,” the statement read.
“The views expressed by Ms Laspas (Bartlett’s partner, Vicki) are her recollection of historical events and are in direct contrast with the recollections of the Melbourne Football Club Board.
“The board are unanimous and united in their support of Simon Goodwin and are dismayed that he and his family will need to again endure this attempt to undermine his outstanding reputation as a club leader.
“In regard to the Worksafe complaint made by Ms Laspas, the Club has responded to Worksafe’s requests for documentation.
“This includes providing documents and proof that contradict and refute claims made by Ms Laspas.
“Over the last two years, Mr Bartlett and his partner Ms Laspas have continued to make accusations about club leaders that are baseless.”
On the eve of the 2022 season, the Demons supported Goodwin after Bartlett’s concern over the coach’s alleged behaviour at, and out of, the club became public.
The documents about Goodwin were leaked just days before Melbourne were due to start defending their first premiership in 57 years.
Adelaide winger Paul Seedsman has become the third AFL player in recent weeks forced into premature retirement because of concussion issues.
The 31-year-old has spent the last two years on the inactive list after suffering a head knock during pre-season training.
Seedsman had a career-best season in 2021 when he was included in the preliminary All-Australian squad and placed third in the Crows’ best-and-fairest award, but never played another game.
He joins Sydney defender Paddy McCartin and Hawthorn ruck Max Lynch in retiring due to concussion-related symptoms already in August.
“It’s always hard letting go of something you still want to do, and every part of me still wants to play,” Seedsman said.
“But I’ve had time to digest that I can’t and I’m comfortable with that, I don’t stew over ‘what ifs’, I try and look at getting myself healthy.
“I’ve been able to get back to enjoying watching footy again, and that’s what has also made this difficult because I see the club going in a strong direction, I’d love to help them get to the next stage, but now I will enjoy watching them for years to come.”
Seedsman bows out after 132 games across 13 seasons, starting with Collingwood in 2012.
He arrived at Adelaide in 2016, playing in the Crows’ three finals in 2017, including the grand final defeat to Richmond.
“Understandably it’s been a very difficult and at times frustrating period for Paul and his family following his injury,” Crows coach Matthew Nicks said.
“But the way he has conducted himself speaks to the class of the person and footballer he is.”
Collingwood dynamos Jordan De Goey and Bobby Hill will join captain Darcy Moore on the sidelines for the Magpies’ top-of-the-table blockbuster with the Brisbane Lions.
De Goey suffered a glute injury during the win over Geelong last week and won’t be risked with only two games to go before finals.
Hill left training early on Wednesday with a hamstring issue and will sit out Friday night’s match at a sold-out Marvel Stadium.
The Pies are already without superstar Nick Daicos (knee) until around the preliminary final weekend.
“There’s a risk-reward attached to this time of year, how much risk you’re willing to take on certain things,” Collingwood coach Craig McRae said.
“This is not the time we have to take as much risk as maybe potentially in a few weeks.
“We’re anticipating that he’d (De Goey) be right (for next week’s game against Essendon) but again, it’s a risk-reward situation.
“I think if it was a grand final I’d be pushing hard for all to be playing.”
In better news for the Magpies, veteran Steele Sidebottom has been declared fit to play after being hampered by an ongoing foot issue that saw him miss against the Cats.
Defender John Noble has also pulled up well after struggling with an ankle issue in the second-half against Geelong.
With some forced changes, Collingwood have opted to hand a debut to defender Jakob Ryan, who was taken in last year’s draft at pick 28.
The Pies announced Ryan’s debut to the whole playing group out on the ground during training on Wednesday.
McRae confirmed Ryan would start in the 22 and would not be selected as the substitute. “It’s exciting to give someone an opportunity at this time of year,” McRae said.
“He gets it through reward and playing above the level in the VFL.”
Moore will miss the next two games with a hamstring strain after being subbed out against the Cats. But the star defender was running at training on Wednesday in a sign he will be right to go for the Magpies’ first final.
Collingwood can seal the minor premiership if they defeat the Lions, who go into the game second on the ladder and are two games behind the Pies.