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Melbourne Football Club

Playing group leads the way: McDonald

Media Conference: Tom McDonald Tom McDonald speaks to the media after a wet pre-season training session.
A lot of what [Goodwin] learnt was we’re doing the right things and it’s just going further with it.
Tom McDonald

TOM McDonald says the coaches have shifted more responsibility onto the playing group this off-season, paving the way for the players to lead the club on and off the field.

After Simon Goodwin headed overseas during the end of season break, he returned to the club with some fresh ideas on how to improve the sides output next year.

“A lot of the coaches have gone and done study trips overseas and they’ve come back and they’re pretty confident we’ve got a good program in place,” McDonald told Melbourne Media.

“They didn’t want to revamp a lot of it. It was almost, consolidate what we’re doing and just add a little 10, 20 percent on, rather than start again.

“So I think we’re in a good spot and it’s now just going that bit further.”

There has been a big emphasis on the players taking ownership this off-season, which was drawn from how multiple overseas sides operate.

“One of the biggest things was the rugby teams were hugely player led,” McDonald said.

“The coaches obviously have input, but they noticed the best teams, the leaders and even the younger players, drove the program.

“They decided what they wanted and how to get there, so they’re trying to push that on us.”

While Goodwin has some new inspiration, McDonald said he’s confident the club is already on the right track for success.

“A lot of what [Goodwin] learnt was we’re doing the right things and it’s just going further with it,” McDonald said.

“So that was probably a good thing, to know we’re on the right path for us and just keep going forward with it.”

Although the entire playing list has only been back in full training for two weeks, McDonald has noticed an improvement among the group already.

“The feedback isn’t from coaches brining us in anymore,” he said.

“It’s the players who tell the guys how they’re going and what needs to be done better, and what’s been done well.

“We still need the coaches to set the program and drive it, but I think we’re seeing some subtle improvements in that.”

And with some rule tweaks coming into the competition next year, McDonald knows the importance of adjusting on-field.

“Next year there’s no runner, so that’s going to be a big change for players,” he said.

“The players are going to have to control everything.

“You get the runner out there after a goal but it’s pretty hard to do rotations, to do strategic changes mid-play without a runner.

“So probably a big part of it is we’re forced to change this year.”