Melbourne Demons coach Simon Goodwin says Steven May, Jake Melksham fight was embarrassing, Gillon McLachlan on Gary Pert exchange



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AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Friday the league had intervened on Thursday because of information that had come out since the club had imposed its penalties.

“I think they [the integrity unit] are always looking at stuff and when more information comes to hand, then I think there’s always an open book and that’s what’s happened here, that there more information has come to hand than earlier in the week and that’s why they’re having a look at it,” McLachlan said on 3AW.

McLachlan did not rule out the possibility that May and Melksham could face more sanctions.

Asked if the AFL had CCTV footage of the incident, McLachlan replied: “The integrity unit will be working through that process and so whatever information is available, and there’ll, obviously, be interviews, and if there’s other information, they’ll be working through it.”

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Goodwin wouldn’t elaborate when asked whether May, who has previously found trouble when drinking, was on a booze ban.

“We will work with Steven around his personal situation. It’s not something for the public domain. Steven is a quality person, he has worked really hard on himself. He will continue to do that,” Goodwin said.

The premiership-winning coach dismissed suggestions there was a divide between those who played in last year’s grand final and those that didn’t.

“There is no divide, they are united, and will continue to forge ahead and try and do something special,” Goodwin said.

“This incident isn’t going to define our playing group. They are united. They are committed to the cause, they know they have made a mistake. Hopefully, in time, people will see this as a real galvanising time for us.”

Goodwin insisted Melksham did not have a broken hand but admitted the infection was serious. He said the medium-sized forward had twice had the infection “washed out” under surgery. “He has gone in twice. It is a serious infection and one that we need to get on top of,” he said.

Goodwin said he did not condone violence in any form.

The incident has overshadowed what shapes as a Queen’s Birthday blockbuster against Collingwood at the MCG on Monday, with the Demons desperate to end a two-game losing skid.

Goodwin’s conduct in the pre-season of 2021 has re-emerged in the spotlight, this time relating to the management style of chief executive Gary Pert. Pert’s position was discussed at a meeting in February of that year between AFL boss McLachlan, his chairman Richard Goyder, and Melbourne officials.

The meeting with the AFL took place at Melbourne’s instigation as the Demons investigated bullying allegations against Goodwin, which have since been rejected by current president Kate Roffey.

“To be honest I am not interested in it, it’s an irrelevant story. Gary Pert is a complete man of integrity. I have got no behavioural issues,” Goodwin said.

McLachlan said it was bemusing and disappointing that the private conversation had been made public. He said he had had a frank exchange with Pert, who he said with whom he had a good personal and professional relationship.

“I certainly wasn’t aware that it was being taped and it seems that it has been,” he said on 3AW. “I think that there’s an expectation that private conversations that you are asked to participate in, I think broadly people would expect them to remain confidential.

“What I’d say is we were called to a meeting, concerns were raised, then Gary and the club investigated the concerns, dealt with them and now we’re talking about a club and a coach who’s a premiership coach. I think that’s where it’s at, I think all of that needs to be recognised when looking at this.”

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