Demons' coach Bailey urged to go radical - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons' coach Bailey urged to go radical

By Adam Cooper and Robert Grant 03/04/2008 08:42:49 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne's Dean Bailey has been urged to adopt a one-off radical game plan by a former coach once faced with a similar predicament to avoid a hat-trick of AFL hidings.

Bailey faces what appears Mission Impossible in transforming Melbourne from a rabble who lost their opening two games by 199 points to beating Geelong at Skilled Stadium on Sunday, after the Cats unfurl last season's premiership flag.

Adding to the new coach's headache is the form Geelong's showed in slaying Essendon by 99 points last week and the fact they thrashed Melbourne by 71 points at Skilled seven weeks ago during the pre-season competition.

But former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas insisted Melbourne should relish the chance to regain respect through something different, as another smashing would occur if Bailey and his players reprised what they served against Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs.

"It would be in Melbourne's best interests to look at this game differently and say `OK, how can we earn respect?'" Thomas told AAP.

"'We've got the greatest opportunity to earn respect because we're playing the best team'.

"If they go and play like they've been playing, firstly from a strategic and tactical point of view, they'll get smashed and if they take that level of effort and intensity, it doesn't matter how they set up ... they'll get smashed.

"So what they need to do is take their best effort and intensity into a game of football with a set strategy to give the guys something to hang their hats on.

"I have no doubt they could make a defining statement if they really wanted to."

Thomas believed Melbourne could surprise the same way his Saints did in 2002, when they bounced back from successive defeats totalling 205 points to draw against Sydney.

Thomas abandoned his usual game plan after his injury-riddled side was humiliated by Port Adelaide and then Geelong with a one-off tactic of playing the Swans man-on-man and frustrating them at every opportunity.

"We thought there's a week where we needed to get these guys a kill and change your philosophy do something different and bog down, be tough, give nothing and get a nil-all draw," he said.

"We talked about that situation and it actually acted itself out."

Bailey refused Thursday to contemplate minimising defeat to Geelong by packing the backline, and gave Melbourne a chance of victory provided they were committed.

"If we're competitive for long enough we give ourselves a chance to win," he said.

"If you think otherwise then you've already accepted fate, I think that's a real simple understanding for the players to have.

"We want to see it in actions again this week but the performance they put out this week will tell how many of our players are competitive, so they're under the spotlight."

Football is littered with upsets and turnarounds, and recent examples include Richmond's 2006 win over Adelaide after losing by 118 points the previous week and the Brisbane Lions' win over West Coast in Perth last year.

Melbourne themselves rose from three successive defeats at the start of 2006 to beat then-reigning premier Sydney.

But so far flung is the thought of Melbourne winning this week that the Demons were cast as $34 outsiders by betting agency Sportsbet.

Bailey drew confidence from the support of coaches who contacted him this week, and the fact other clubs had turned around dire predicaments.

But former Hawthorn coach Peter Schwab said a good start by Geelong could plummet Bailey and the Demons to another belting.

Schwab began his coaching career in 2000 with two defeats totalling 96 points from his first two games, and suffered from self-doubt before the Hawks turned around their season.

"When you've been belted, all of a sudden as soon as a side gets on top there's a lot of self-doubt," Schwab said.

"So you hope Geelong don't get off to a flyer and get five or six goals up quickly, because that will be detrimental to their (Melbourne's) confidence."

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