IF THERE’S anyone to inspire a team to a Toyota AFL Grand Final victory it’s Neale Daniher.
The much-loved Daniher, who coached the Demons for 223 games throughout the ‘90s and 00s, did just that last Saturday night, helping Melbourne end a 57-year premiership drought.
Speaking after the historic win, and in the week since, captain Max Gawn made special mention of just how much the former coach played a part in the day.
“I’ll let you in on our little secret,” Gawn told Fox Footy post-match.
“Neale Daniher’s quote was posted all around our walls tonight: ‘When all is said and done, more is said than done.’
“We’ve talked lots this year about how we’ve changed our culture, our selfless approach … we’ve talked that, and it was time to deliver.
For Gawn, it came down to showing up on the biggest stage of them all.
Having been among the top contenders all year, the Demons had dreamt of this moment – they didn’t quite picture it at Optus Stadium – and Daniher proved to be the ultimate inspiration.
It only added to the special bond that the club and Daniher share.
While the venue change and ongoing COVID-19 crisis meant Daniher couldn’t be there in person, his support from home was just as strong.
He shared a photo in front of the TV after the 74-point win, with a smile that summed up how a lot of Melbourne supporters were feeling.
Alongside Daniher, Gawn also paid tribute on the night to those who have been lost in recent years, including Jim Stynes, Dean Bailey, Troy Broadbridge and Colin Sylvia.
The skipper acknowledged the impact that each has had on the club and its supporters, and how they’re the “real heroes” of Melbourne.