Premiership-winning Demons coach Simon Goodwin reveals his mental health battle during dismal 2019 season: ‘I became more of a recluse’
- Simon Goodwin said he ‘lost his love for the game’ during a difficult 2019 season
- He said he became a ‘recluse’ and reveals the toll stress and anxiety had on him
- Goodwin went on to steer the Demons to historic 2021 flag over the Bulldogs
He’s now a premiership-winning coach but Melbourne‘s Simon Goodwin has confessed he lost passion for the game and battled with mental health issues during a tough 2019 season.
Goodwin, who has previously revealed he struggled with mental health and a gambling addiction during his playing days, led the Demons to a preliminary final in 2018, but the following season was an annus horribilis for the club.
Now an advocate and ambassador for mental health, Goodwin has now acknowledged how overwhelmed he felt at times during the 2019 season.
‘When we started to tumble down the ladder and lose games of footy, there was no doubt I started to become more of a recluse, I started to lose the passion for the game,’ he told Tackle Your Feelings, a mental health training program for community AFL clubs.
Goodwin has revealed the huge toll 2019 took on him
The Demons finished second last in 2019 despite being one of the favourites for the flag after an impressive 2018 when they made the finals for the first time in 12 years.
Expectations from the passionate Demons fan-base, and the entire AFL world, were at an all-time high heading into the next season.
‘It wasn’t easy. It was a tough ride. It was a tough challenge – both personally and also as a footy club,’ Goodwin said of the disappointing season.
He said he lost his love for the game in a season where the Demons finished second last
Things came to a head for Goodwin at a press conference in May of that year when he had to leave abruptly.
At the time, his colleagues Josh Mahoney and Troy Chaplin said he just had a momentary dizzy spell, and would be fine.
As it turns out, Goodwin was not fine.
He revealed that the anxiety from the disappointing start to the season was so overwhelming, he couldn’t even speak.
Goodwin led the Demons to the flag last year when the club beat the Bulldogs in Perth
‘It probably didn’t hit me until that press conference when I was standing there talking and trying to answer a question, and I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth,’ said Goodwin.
‘At the time I didn’t know what had happened, and when we broke it down it was that I just wasn’t coping with the pressure and the stress and the anxiety that had come over me.’
Goodwin pictured with his former wife Maggie during his highly successful playing career with the Adelaide Crows
It certainly would have been a tough season for the club at the time, but it has certainly hardened them – and they have since won a premiership, ending a 57-year drought for the Demons.
In his successful playing career for the Crows, which included two flags and five All Australian selections, Goodwin was fined $40,000 after betting on AFL games. He admitted at the time he would seek counselling to address his chronic gambling.