AFL Rd 5 - Melbourne v Richmond
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 05: The Demons look dejected after losing the round 5 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Richmond Tigers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 05, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Melbourne great Garry Lyon has declared his former side is simply an ‘average team’ with ‘very good individuals”.

Lyons comments on Fox Footy’s On The Couch came just minutes after their finals hopes were crushed with a 14-point loss to Fremantle.

The defeat comes as their second loss to a bottom-six club after another loss against Sydney last week.

Lyons also said he thought the loss to both teams were ironic.

“Two young, developing sides who are predictable in the way they play, bring effort each time and it’s everything the Demons strive to be but haven’t been able to recapture since late 2018.”

The Demons only seemed to pick up the pace during the dying stages of the Monday night game, leaving the heat to fall back on Simon Goodwin “understandably and rightfully”.

“It’s a reflection on the group. Maybe they’re just an average group … I can arrive at no other conclusion because you can’t just bob up every now and then and put a performance in that has sitting here going ‘I think they’re going to get there’,” he Lyon told On The Couch.

“The very good sides don’t do that (lose games they’re expected to win). Average sides do that, average players do that and aren’t able to maintain a consistency of effort.”

Upon asking if Melbourne had enough resilient players, Lyon said: “No they don’t – and that’s part of being average … otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about Melbourne in this light and we wouldn’t have been talking about it last week.”

Fellow ex-Demon Gerard Healy said that Melbourne seems to be struggling to find a talented list.

“I think the question is: Are they average going north or are they just average and they’re going nowhere?” Healy asked on Fox Footy.

“(Trent) Rivers is a good kid, I think you can absolutely tick him off. But you go back to 2018 and you had Tom McDonald playing like Wayne Carey, you had Jesse Hogan that’s now playing for the Fremantle Dockers, (Sam) Weideman was looking like a star, went missing last year, four weeks ago he was looking as if he was about to come through – and yet the whole thing, someone’s put the clutch in and it’s just stalled.

“It’s hard to dispute (Lyon’s) assessment as ‘average’, but I look at that list and I think to myself ‘this is underperforming, this group’. You look at (Steven) May, you look at (Jake) Lever … (Michael) Hibberd’s an All-Australian. You’ve got a great midfield led by one of the best ruckmen in the competition (Max Gawn), (Clayton) Oliver is a two-time All-Australian, (Jack) Viney’s a hard man at the footy … but collectively, they are playing just average footy and I accept it.

“But their talent isn’t being maximised and that’s where the heat comes on Simon Goodwin and that group.”

Lyon replied: “What you are saying is they’ve got very good individuals. They are an average team – there’s a difference between the two.

“So then I ask: Who then brings this together and develops a selflessness and an energy that doesn’t pick and choose every month or so?

“We talk about Viney, (Christian) Petracca and Oliver – they just go and try harder. Oliver busts his guts and tries harder and gets another five possessions, but is it part of a collective? Or do they all just go ‘I’ll try and win it?’

“I’m not saying they’re after individual glory. I think half the trouble is they go ‘I’m going to individually try and win it’, instead of saying ‘there’s a collective in this’.”

St. Kilda star forward Nick Riewoldt said he doesn’t believe that the communication between Goodwin and his players seems to be registering.

“We heard from Simon Goodwin at half-time and he said ‘we need to play with more dare, we need to actually take the game on’. So he could identify what needed to happen … that would’ve been the message,” Riewoldt told On The Couch.

“But the players then weren’t able to go out and execute. So there’s a breakdown somewhere.”