PRESIDENT Glen Bartlett said he was “absolutely delighted”, chief executive Peter Jackson said it was “probably the most significant thing since Ron Barassi Jnr left this footy club” and the man himself – new Melbourne coach Paul Roos – said he was “extremely excited” to lead the Demons for at least the next two seasons.
Roos, Jackson and Bartlett fronted the media at the MCG at 12pm on Friday, with the coach and chief executive speaking about the appointment and the future of the club.
Here are the key points from the media conference, which lasted almost 40 minutes …
Roos on his appointment
The new Melbourne coach clarified the “running commentary” over his future from the past 12 weeks.
Initially, he had “very little interest” in coaching again. But Roos said the “professionalism and persistence” from chief executive Peter Jackson was telling.
“A couple of significant things had changed. My contract had ended at the Swans [Academy],” he said.
Roos paid tribute to the Swans and said it had been an “amazing journey for me” – having been associated with the club since 1995.
But he said he gained “a clear direction” after meeting the players. He added that it was a significant step in him becoming Melbourne coach.
“This had to work for the Melbourne Football Club. This is about the Melbourne Football Club,” he said.
“I’m extremely excited. I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years. I can’t wait to get started … in what is going to be a huge challenge.”
Roos said his son Tyler said “you’ve got to coach this club”.
Roos on identifying the next coach after his career
Roos has signed for 2014-15, with the option to coach in 2016.
But he signaled his intention to hand over the coaching baton beyond that period.
And he added that he will be part of identifying Melbourne’s next coach, post his tenure.
Jackson said Melbourne wouldn’t have got Roos, if it had wanted him for five years.
“Paul didn’t want to commit to five years … we were never going to get him [for that long],” he said.
“What we want to do is build the leadership and culture [of this club] … and there is no better man than [Roos].
“It’s fantastic for us to lay the foundations.”
Roos said he was all about setting the direction of the club, not necessarily holding the cup up under his tenure.
“I’m really excited in a short term. I’m very excited about setting a path and then handing it over,” he said.
“If it’s someone else who takes the glory – that’s fine.”
Roos on the Melbourne list
Roos said was there was some genuine talent on the list, but Melbourne’s percentage was his major concern this year.
“They’re a two team win with 56 per cent. The percentage for me is relevant. That’s an unacceptable percentage,” he said.
Roos confirmed that he “really wants” Colin Sylvia and Jack Watts to remain at the club.
He also issued a strong statement towards the Melbourne players.
“My commitment to these boys is to make them the best possible player they can be,” Roos said.
Roos and Jackson on future recruiting/priority pick
Roos’ sense of humour came to the fore, when he said “that’d be great, if you’ve got one”, when asked if Melbourne should have a priority pick.
But he was serious when he added that Melbourne needed to get midfield depth and he was not against trading pick two.
“Philosophically, I’d be happy to trade pick two. I wouldn’t be against it,” he said.
Jackson said there was a “very powerful argument” for Melbourne to receive one.
“Fixing this footy club will help the whole industry,” he said.
Jackson conceded that “the elephant in the room” in relation to Melbourne’ tanking investigation earlier in the year clouded the priority pick issue.
Roos on Melbourne’s captaincy
Roos said he was open-minded about Jack Grimes and Jack Trengove remaining in the co-captaincy role. But he was also adamant that they needed to be the best players possible.
“I need to make them the best players they can be,” he said.
“They’ll be part of that process.”
Roos on Melbourne’s future success/game style
Roos said there was “no magic formula” for success.
“It’s not just about me. We need everyone working hard at the football club,” he said.
“Moving forward, we’re going to be doing the best possible thing for the club.
“It might take a little while to get there … but I’m 100 per cent committed for the next two years.”
But Roos said Melbourne needed to alter its style of play.
“We’re going to have a significant change in game style,” he said.
“I think we’ve got a good group … and we need to put in a game style that will be successful.
“AFL’s a tough game, if you want to be successful.”
Roos acknowledged that turning the club’s fortunes around would be a big challenge.
“[My job is] as is much as a leadership challenge, as it is a coaching challenge,” he said.
“This [might be my] last hurrah and then I'll ride off into the sunset … [coaching is] not an easy job.
“It’s more of a leadership role now.”
Jackson on landing Roos
Jackson said he was rapt to have landed a president (Bartlett), coach (Roos), a chief commercial officer (George De Crespigny) and the “last domino” was now a general manager of football operations.
“This club has slowly declined over the last five or six years … the excitement [of securing Roos] is beyond belief,” he said.
“He’ll bring a hell of a lot to this football club.”
But Jackson said Roos hadn’t guaranteed instant success.
“I think it’ll have a significant impact,” he said.
“Paul’s not guaranteeing great, immediate success.
“I think people will believe now. I reckon they’ll come back.”
Jackson on Neil Craig’s future
“There were no promises. We’ve been very open,” he said.
“We acknowledged him at the best and fairest and he didn’t have to [coach Melbourne], with the chance his reputation and feelings could get hurt.
“When he said he’d do it, he said he’d do it ‘balls and all’. He’s won enormous respect from these players. He’s been fantastic for this football club.”