We want to win: Dees’ May hits back at ‘selfish’ claims

Shayne Hope |

Steven May has hit back at claims Melbourne have become a “selfish” football team, declaring his under-fire teammates’ on-field actions are coming from a place of care.

The Demons have slipped out of the AFL top eight amid intense scrutiny over a series of sub-par performances, losing four of their past five matches before the mid-season bye.

The horror run has put huge pressure on Simon Goodwin’s men as they resume in a clash with North Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday night.

Former Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd has been among Melbourne’s biggest critics, lashing their on-field behaviour.

The prominent commentator pointed to what he feels was selfish play by Dees forward Bayley Fritsch, which “is filtering down to other players”, while calling out May for frequent on-field outbursts at teammates.

Melbourne's Bayley Fritsch.
Melbourne’s Bayley Fritsch has been accused of showing selfishness on the playing field. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

But the 2021 premiership fullback and two-time All-Australian is adamant the Demons are on the same page as they attempt to resurrect their season.

“(Lloyd) is entitled to his opinion, but I don’t think we’re a selfish footy club at all,” May said on Thursday.

“I think we’re a team that cares so much. We’re a team that wants to win, and sometimes it may look selfish.

“But it’s not coming from a place of, ‘Look at me’ – it’s coming from a place of we want to win, we want to be better.”

Lloyd highlighted clips of leading goalkicker Fritsch ignoring teammates in better positions, and said he is getting “tired” of seeing Melbourne players blaming each other for on-field breakdowns.

“You need to have those tough conversations, you need to take the shot and kick the goal when it’s your turn,” May said.

“If you kick those goals and we’re winning, those comments don’t come around.

“The only way you can really stop the experts from commenting on us is to win games, and unfortunately we haven’t been, so that’s our next goal.”

May admitted Melbourne players have gone too far trying to implement tweaks to Simon Goodwin’s game plan, which have caused “frustration” and need to be refined.

But he believes the Demons are still a finals-calibre side capable of regaining their identity as a defensive powerhouse.

“We have a really coachable group and when we get told to play a certain way we go too far the other way,” May said.

“It’s more about having different ways to attack, and not having to play fast football the whole game.

“It will be interesting to see in the next few weeks our scoring, but more importantly our defensive side.

“We’ve been a really strong defensive team, but we probably haven’t been at our best this year.

“We like to be known as a defensive side and we’re sort of losing our identity, but we’ve got 10 weeks and we’re looking to get that back.”

May backed Melbourne’s midfield, led by ruckman Max Gawn and out-of-form stars Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney, to lead the charge in the back half of the season, despite gun on-baller Christian Petracca being sidelined with internal injuries.