Melbourne Demons coach Simon Goodwin and CEO Gary Pert have addressed fans and the media in regards to a number of issues that have sparked rumours and innuendo. In an extraordinary open letter to Demons fans on Monday, Pert put Clayton Oliver and Joel Smith on notice, while also addressing ongoing rumours surrounding coach Goodwin.
Smith is provisionally suspended after recording a positive in-season drugs test to cocaine, while Oliver's future remains under a cloud after worrying rumours emerged about his off-field behaviour. The midfielder, who is contracted until 2030, was also taken to hospital earlier this month following what the club deemed a "medical episode".
'LOCKED IN': Jack Ginnivan's shock act amid AFL trade bombshell
Amid the turmoil, Oliver has moved in to the home of captain Max Gawn, whose wife Jessica is pregnant. On Monday evening, Pert said Oliver must meet the club's off-field standards and discipline if wants to remain part of the program long-term.
"The club is aware of the personal challenges that Clayton has outside of football and key club experts will remain part of his daily support team," Pert wrote. "Club leaders have very clearly outlined to Clayton the behavioural expectations that we have of him, and these behaviours will be reviewed on a regular basis.
"It is the player leadership group, as well as Alan Richardson, Simon Goodwin and myself, who will decide if Clayton is meeting minimum behavioural expectations. In some ways, AFL football programs are akin to a large family. While honest feedback is often difficult, this approach will give Clayton the best chance to thrive within our high-performance environment, and the best chance for him to have a long career at the Melbourne Football Club."
Melbourne Demons smack down Simon Goodwin rumours
Rumours about Goodwin's off-field behaviour have been swirling for years, but Pert insisted they are fake. "I wish to address the three years of allegations and innuendo suffered by Simon Goodwin, which are completely without basis or truth," he wrote. "I personally investigated the matter and did so by methodically interviewing every person that I was aware of who had spread the initial rumours.
"All admitted there was no basis to the claims but were simply passing on what they had heard from others. The only valid information was that Simon was seen having a drink with some of our player leaders at the Sorrento Hotel which was hardly surprising, given his strong relationship with the players who were holidaying in the area over the summer break. The ongoing embellishment and spreading of untrue rumours have placed an enormous stress and mental toll on Simon and his family over the last three years."
Speaking on SEN radio on Tuesday morning, Goodwin revealed the rumours revolve around illicit drug use, but also vehemently shot them down. "I’ve said this over a three-year period now and it’s pretty ordinary that I’m actually sitting in this position and having to justify that situation,” Goodwin said.
“I know where it happened in terms of a rumour from down in the Mornington Peninsula where it was clearly going around. That for me was really concerning and bizarre at the time. It then led to an allegation. An allegation that was fully investigated by Gary Pert and the club about what that might’ve looked like – and there was nothing in it.
“I do not use illicit drugs. I give everything I can to my family and my team in a way that dedicates my life to my football club and to have this play out over three years where my reputation has been caught up in a board room battle. It has been documented over and over and over again in the public and it’s been really hard for myself, my family and enough is enough. I don’t use illicit drugs and I never will."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.