An Open Letter To Mark Neeld

Every Monday night DTTalk’s regular GWS guru @RLGriffin85 steps up to the plate to articulate the thoughts of AFL Dream Team coaches everywhere. Be it pointing the finger of blame at Senior AFL Coaches, setting a fire below underperforming players or just throw away comments about how bad Zac ‘Lurch’ Dawson really is; there’s no topic he isn’t willing to write about! Who’s in his sights this week?

An Open Letter to: Mark Neeld


Hi Mark,

I’ll be honest; I kind of feel bad writing this. I mean, you knew it was coming, and I knew it was coming, everyone knew it would happen, but still, it’s kind of like a passenger interrupting the pilot to complain about the turbulence as the plane starts spinning into a nose dive. “Not to be rude but, I’m spilling my scotch and coke, think you can crash this plane any gentler?”.

I mean, yes, you knew what you were applying for when you took on the job at Melbourne, and yes, you only took it because the Crows were taking so bloody long to get in the game, but seriously. Another rebuilding year? Come on. How many years do Melbourne need to rebuild? The players must feel like pieces of a Jenga game by now with the amount of blokes promising to come on in and rebuild, only for the club to fall over again and again.

Let’s talk facts. Liam Jurrah; good in a fight, some fight on the field, but “has done all the right things to be selected”? No. Colin Sylvia; glad to see he hasn’t stubbed his toe to rule himself out for six weeks with a long term injury, but the guy you want to take the game by the scruff of the neck and march in to battle. Nope. And then there is Cale Morton; I’ve seen more impressive acts of brilliance on a footy field when the game is over as seagulls try to get the last chip down the very end of that crumpled up paper cup. At least they put in some effort.

Mark, things have got to change. I understand that you want to play the game your way and that the troops you have at your disposal would have difficulty taking down a bunch of sugar high ten year olds. But the doubt and questionable choices that you’re coming to the selection table with make Delta Goodrem look like a ruthless dictator. Things have to change.

Melbourne has conceded more points this year than the Giants and has won fewer games. How is that even possible? I mean, GWS were a shoe in for last place this season, that’s what GWS stands for, Guaranteed Wooden Spooners, but they may get pushed out of it by you! That’s about as unlikely as Denis Cometti walking in for a Friday night broadcast only to be told that Brian Taylor will take his spot as he could do a better job. Are you out of your mind?

You’ve got a ball Magnet who is driven to succeed, not beaten down (yet) by loss after loss and what do you do with him? You made him a bloody tagger! Magner has more drive to get to a contest and win the ball than just about anyone at your club and you think the best way to use him is to have him standing back behind his opponent ready to tackle. The only person who should be standing in any shadows at Melbourne is Lynden Dunn, and that’s just to hide that atrocity on his upper lip.

Then there is Couch. I’m sorry mate but it has to be said, and as you spent some time at Collingwood I’ll say it slow for you: Tom. Couch. Should. Be. Playing. Every. Single. Week! It’s that simple! When team sheets are released on Thursdays (not that they mean much anymore) T.Couch should be listed on the bloody field, not on the bench, not as an emergency, and for the love of all things Stynes, not the F***ING SUB! What are you worried about? That you’ll have too many ball winners? One isn’t too many!

If big Jim left one impression amongst anyone at Melbourne it should have been that if you give a bloke a go, a bloke with determination and love of the game, he will try until his heart gives out. Tom Couch has struggled for years to get on a club list, he takes it into his own hands, forces his way through, blows his team mates out of the water, has the fans excited, members may actually be walking through the door and you play him in the bloody twos! It’s enough to give me, the fans and the whole football community the bloody twos. Give him a bloody go!

Don’t be a coach for the players. If you hurt their feelings they’ll get over it once somebody explains to them what happened. Look at Fevola! Nobody wanted him and he’s over it, he’s probably out dancing right now thanks to it. Drop players who play sh*t. Pick players who play well. So what if your team sheet looks like a revolving door and you play forty blokes between now and the end of the year? At least Melbourne supporters will see that the spirit in the Demons is still burning.

So as you put this plane down, please, think of the blokes up the back. The blokes who are riding the bumps every leg of the way because they have no choice! Yes a solid team week in and out is important, but not as important as showing some guts. Not just out on the field, but in the coaches’ box as well. Either way, you’ll always have Melbourne FC on your resume, but what’s the point of it if you have a good reference but no results to show for it? Sorry mate, but seriously, Melbourne’s doing crap.



The Wider AFL Community


PS. Apologies for bringing Jim Stynes in to this, but apparently no one down at the Demons give stuff unless you mention his name.


  • RL Griffin you are amazing

  • Wow. Couldn’t of been said better!

    • That could HAVE, though

      • Weldone ‘Ingoes’… Isn’t this about talking Footy and DT?
        But seriously yeah weldone on correcting him after he payed a well deserved compliment to the fantastic Griff

        • It is well done, not weldone… you have now also been corrected.

      • Wow. Couldn’t HAVE been said better! So sorry “Ingoes” wont happen again man I promise!

      • gambler

        Yes, “ingoes” you my friend are class A fool.

      • To all those people who correct spelling just remember that no one likes you!

        • Jesse

          Literacy, shit matters.

          • I like those people.

            People who correct the spelling and grammar of other’s do it mostly to educate others. That is of course on the assumption that when people write, they think about what is being written (as literate people do). Pointing out mistakes is intended to raise the level of literate interaction so all points are made clearer than they might otherwise be.

            Anyone can have a go at someone for pointing out a spelling mistake, but not everyone can point out that same mistake to others and in the process, educate.

          • And yes, I rushed the comment and made a mistake or two. See if you can find them.

          • Here to get educated on Dream Team… Not the English Language.

          • Each to their own.

            I personally value an individuals attention to their own appearance and vocabulary. Not vanity, but self respect.

            Dr Phil, out! ;)

          • Literacy is srs business, fools.

  • GWS – Guaranteed Wooden Spooners.


  • Great Artical RLGriffin, not sure what they are doing down there, Magner comes in to the side, averages the most touches then anyone at the club for the first few games, then gets made a tagger? Seriously? Anyways nicely said mate.

  • “T.Couch should be listed on the bloody field, not on the bench, not as an emergency, and for the love of all things Stynes, not the F***ING SUB! What are you worried about. that you’ll have too many ball winners? One isn’t too many!”

    I couldn’t of said it any better
    great write up

  • Guaranteed Wooden Spooners HAHAHA that is gold! Good on you for poking fun at your team and hilarious article!

    By the way RLGriffin, any news on Old McDonald? Starting to worry that he’s got a permanent coaching role…

    • I have a good feeling he’ll play this week with GWS getting pumped and a lot of players being tired. but lets wait for the all might griff to tell us all!!!

  • Abhishek Behl

  • ha ha. redvested will be happy this week ;)

    but seriously I am a port supporter and at least they are showing a little something.

    I’m very loyal but if I was a melbourne supporter I would be jumping ship!!!

    and team selection is a coaches biggest weapon…. use it ffs!!!!!!

    get rid of the underperformers and put in overperformers ie. couchy

    love your work griff!!! keep it up!!! :)

  • Need to downgrade Stanley to some one under 170k so I can afford to upgrade Murphy to Ablett but I already
    Have, Zorko who is my best option!

  • Ha, even Mark would get a laugh out of this…

  • Cheer for the great read mate

    Guaranteef Wooden Spooners = GWS is pure gold

  • Currently got 14 trades and thinking of going Jmac to Zorko and Cogs to Rd 13 premo?
    Not quite sure which premo to get in though, with mitchell in horrible form there isnt really anyone else?

    My current midfield is Swan, Rocky, Boyd,Ablett,Cogs,Horsely(Magner, Jmac)

    • Also Cogs has got quite a bit of money left to make, so do i let him stay. But dont want to be a premo short and drop down the rankings?

    • Thompson, Pendles

  • A bit to long to read so I just read the first line and the last few sentences. Maybe consider chopping it down a tad as I cant see neeld wanting to waste excessive amounts of time reading it.

    • Maybe I should start an #OpenTweetTo article of 160 characters or less? I’ll do one just for you bradley: “Neeld ya shit mate play COUCH ya tool. Just j/ks! GO PIES”. Hope you could handle the higher concepts of that tweet. It’s deep.

    • Bahaha. Best comment ever. Ahh, the ADHD generation. Isn’t DT great – it appeals to all sectors of the community!

    • LMFAO

    • Funniest post I have ever read!!!

  • Great write up! Shocking team! There are blokes in that side that couldn’t recognise a Sherrin in a line up. Do they have no respect for the legacy of Jim Stynes? And sadly, the future isn’t looking any better

  • Well written Griff

    Really hope Neeld reads this and gives poor Tom Couch a bloody run!, ANY other club would of given him a game by now. He’s killing it every week in the 2’s. Why elevate a guy before round 1 and not play him. Pathetic and should be sacked asap

    • I could not agree more with him being sacked asap, i don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach this bad at the selection table! Just doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing.

  • Hear hear!! Bloody brilliant!

  • Great stuff Griff.

    This one is my favourite letter so far. Actually very tactful. Would have been too easy to take put shots. Awesome work!

    • Sorry – pot

      Damn you auto correct!!!

      • How’d you go on the weekend Ridley U? Keeping up the good work? Or is DT becoming a bitch

    • I think a put shot or two might be in order actually. A nine-pounder to the temple might knock some sense into him

  • soooooooo true Griff! as always!
    i had hope for Neeld and even as a carlton supporter im sad to see him do so poorly!
    i think the only thing that couch hasn’t done to get into the team is give neeld some sexual favours and i’m pretty sure neither of them are that way inclined so WHY THE HELL IS HE NOT IN THE FRIGGIN TEAM?!?

  • Awesome write up. Bring on Couch in Round 10 and we will be set for the byes!!

  • Brilliant letter RL!
    You have encapsulated all of my frustrations over Couch and my blood boils reading your letter.

    • Great stuff mate on the weekend! That ranking looks awesome doesn’t it. Every time you open the team there it is. Then directly under it has how many teams have been entered! Enjoy it mate. Thoroughly deserved!!!

      • Cheers champ – how long I stay there is a different matter!
        Got Swan to deal with but thinking I’ll keep him on the bench.
        Will probably look to get Robbo in soon and then I might need to have a look at my back line.
        Bad luck on the weekend – the Swan / Murphy combo is a killer!

        • Tough choice mate. Go with your gut!

          Hope the Stanton Selwood combo has better luck this week for me :-)

  • Well done Griff! The scary thing is that its all true! You really don’t have to be a brain surgeon to work it out. We must be missing something that’s going on down there at Melbourne. I feel for the supporters having to watch that rubbish week in week out with no light at the end of the tunnel.
    Next year they will have to play all the kids because their experienced players will be looking to go elsewhere. Free trade time! Although you do need a club that wants you.
    Anyway great read again! Some very funny stuff!

  • Someone please ensure that this letter gets into the hands of Neeld. I dont care if you have to be that dumbass orc that launches himself with the torch to blow up the wall of Helm’s Deep. Someone get it done!!!

  • stanton or ablett?
    ive also had zorko in my side since day one. knew he would be star once he broke into the side. however, should i downgrade magner or shiel in order to turn murphy in either ablett or stanton? and who would i downgrade to?

    • Mate, did you even read the open letter? No offence, but stuff your trades! :P

      Thanks for saying what needed to be said Griff. Things have got to change at Melbourne FC…it’s bloody embarrasing to watch and i’m Hawk supporter! I feel bad for every Demon supporter that turns up to games week in – week out, and forks out money for memberships. Something has got to give at that footy club! I kind of disagree with the spotlight on Neeld (to a certain degree) as so called “senior” players such as Davey Green and Sylvia must carry as much if not more of the blame than the coach…you three are PATHETIC!

      Cheers Griff :)

  • You deserve a frickin medal.

  • how about a letter to kevin sheedy for not playing mcdonald.. he really shits me

    • It’s pretty much written itself if come Thursday he isn’t named on the ball.

  • couldn’t have said it better!
    Mark Neald has good intentions with the club, the list he has been given to work with is far from the best, the veterans are average and some of the young kids are duds, but magner certainly needs to roam free and couch needs to play!

    How such a highly respected football club has got them selves into a situation like this is beyond me, sponser controversy, jurrah and his court case, wow.

  • Ingoes, you are simply awesome at picking up meaningless grammar mistakes and belittling people. Keep up the good work.

    • Cheers for the feedback. Damn shame the sarcasm is entirely lost on me…

      Nah, I’ve been in a pretty shitty mood tonight. Apologies to anyone I have offended. It’s just that there are times when I realise that the fight isn’t being lost, the fight is over, it’s a fricken bloodbath, and it makes me sad, is all…because I think words are real purty and they used to be good for stuff..

      But yeah, it was pretty tactless, and I do genuinely apologise to all. I realise that I what I did was much more arrogant that telling a professional AFL coach that he’s a useless spud…

    • Hahahahahahaha top comment

  • Good night to all.

    A big thanks to Ingoes, Griff and a big big thank you to Bradley! You guys have made me have a great old laugh. Cheers gus.

  • I should be encouraged by the fact that the author of this article can seriously whack a sentence together – so thanks, Griff, I should have said so already.

  • classic griff. I know their list isn’t the best but I have to agree with you they are being coached very poorly. can’t understand why Neeld isn’t making selection changes. then again if he axed every bloke who’s not having a proper go, he’d end up with less than six players taking the field.

    love your work mate.

  • Only 1 possible explanation.. Dees are back to their tanking ways. I mean how else can you explain the reasoning of making the Magnet a tagger??! They want pick 1, 2 and not have to use it on Viney.

    “O dear, he’s winning too much hard ball and contested possessions! What is this?! I know we’ll make him tag and add Cale Morton into the side! Done!”

    Couch just needs to play half-hearted and not give a shit.. then he’ll certainly get himself a guernsey!

    Great article, I actually really wish the media or someone gets hold of this, I bet Melbourne fans will whole heartedly agree with every word!

  • The blunders made regarding the most efficient use of Magner and Couch are documented well enough. But another thing Neeld could have done was played Liam Jurrah as a key forward. No Swans defender would have dared chop his arms.

  • Why is the yellow letter on the graphic closed doe?

  • Brak

    nice article, sad but all true.

    just saw my projected rd 11 score in assistant coach, 1300ish ouch! 2300 this week :-)

  • your nobody and you think you can give advise on selection and coaching methods to a guy who’s played the game, been an assistant coach and is now a full time senior coach who dedicates his life to getting this team in the best possible shape to achieve results using all his experience. Get real.

    • “you’re” Danny Tiato and you think Neeld’s going the right way about things? Here’s one example of untiato-like behavior…publicly criticize Sylvia’s toughness the week previous and then give him the same job the next. The real Danny Tiato would have held no prisoners…the imposter sees nothing wrong and puts his/her blind faith in the Messaihanic Neeld.

      • i think hes far, far better informed than any of us to make his decisions especially than this RL hero who thinks hes the worlds most punctual person.

        • I show up on time? I think you need to remember this is an entertainment opinion article on a dreamteam website mate, not a factual article in the herald sun or the age. If you don’t find it entertaining, just read something else.

          • well punctuality is a good thing to have Griff, he may be paying you a compliment (in some sort of twisted way)

        • It seems to me that he picks his team with a clear view of “team balance”. He probably looks at his players day in, day out and thinks: This guy can get the ball and this guy can use the ball but I don’t have many players who are even remotely elite and can do both. Jordie McKenzie is an awful disposer of the ball, Nathan Jones is a good average footballer and Moloney and Trengove have both been no-shows this season. Players like Davey, Sylvia and Morton haven’t had enough of the footy to utilise whatever skills they possess and can’t get it themselves. Plan A has been an epic fail because their ball-winners have been shit and I think everyone wouldn’t mind seeing a Plan B. It reminds me a bit of Neil Craig’s final years.

  • Yet another brilliant letter!


    Here’s a hint mate…..17 other clubs, which are all performing better than your club, would love Couch on their list…….and they’d BE PLAYING HIM!!!!

    I suppose Jack Viney will languish in the reserves next year as well?!

  • A brilliant read. I saw the Dees president has come out to support Neeld which usually means he will soon get his marching orders. I’ll give it to their bye round and it’s bye bye Neeld.

    Also Neil Craig take a look at Adelaide which is basically the same list you had last year. Amazing what a new coach can do if you get the right coach. I hope for Melbourne’s sake that when Neeld gets the axe Craig doesn’t get the job….

  • Everyone with a twitter account needs to pass this on to the Melbourne page with the same hash tag. Kind of like a petition letter.

  • great read Griff,
    Neeld may as well use Sheeds method of rotating players, at least he may find a side worthy of stepping onto the paddock.

    • Which was exactly my point in the letter. I went to great lengths to point out that he hasn’t got much to work with. Neeld may be trying his heart out, but rotating under-preforming players is what he hasn’t tried, and maybe it’s time.

  • Dusty Cotch n Conks

    Am I the only one hoping Neeld doesn’t play Couch until Round 10, so I can pick him up on the bubble in Round 13 after his bye? To help combat the bye rounds, we need a few rookies on the bubble during those three rounds.

    Another great read by the way. Love having a laugh reading through the letter, then another laugh reading through the comments at people thinking you’re writing a serious article dissecting the game and the people involved in it!