AFTER playing in four AFL premierships with the Hawks, Jordan Lewis knows exactly what it takes to have success.
Unfortunately, 2019 – his final season – wasn’t his best from a team perspective, as Melbourne stooped to 17th on the AFL ladder.
But the 319-gamer hasn’t lost faith in his ex-Demon teammates, drawing similarities between his two former clubs.
“It may sound like a lot of excuses, but this is what I firmly believe happened,” Lewis said on SEN Drive.
“I liken it to Hawthorn in 2009. They win the flag in 2008.
“Albeit Melbourne didn’t win the flag, no one at that club had been to finals or a Prelim Final, so you have a relatively successful season.
“At the end of that season you go into an off-season and you have 17 guys go in for post-season surgery – which happened to Hawthorn in 2008.
“You’re dealing with that, you’re dealing with a semi-successful season, I’ve got no doubt that the mindset isn’t as sharp when you come back.”
While Lewis, who has now taken on a coaching role in the red and blue, didn’t identify an attitude issue at the time, he says 2019 was a wakeup call for the players.
“For whatever reason you just may think it is going to roll on because you’ve never had that experience before, so you don’t know how to deal with it,” he said.
After missing the finals in 2009, Hawthorn responded to become a powerhouse of the competition, winning back-to-back-to-back premierships from 2013.
Lewis hopes to see his second club find the same hunger for success.
“I firmly believe that because last year was such a disappointing season, the players, and I’ve seen it because I’m down there a couple of times per week, I’ve seen a dramatic shift in mindset and the way that players are approaching their training,” he said.
The Dees’ drop off in 2019 has been well documented in the media, but Lewis says it’s not hard to see how things began to unfold.
“Steven May and Jake Lever barely played all year, Tom McDonald hardly played through a foot issue, Jake Melksham hardly played through a foot issue,” he said.
“They’re your key players around the ground.
“Then what happens is you have got players playing in positions where they might not necessarily play, so the side becomes a little more unpredictable.
“I think the game plan probably didn’t evolve as much because we were hampered by injuries and so you couldn’t experiment in that fact.
“Those are a few of the reasons and I only likened it to the 2009 Hawks because that was the experience that I had.”