To most of the 29,812 people at the MCG on Saturday, the game seemed over at half time as Narrm (Melbourne) looked on track to secure their 18th straight win with a 25-point lead against Fremantle.
But if the Freo players were expecting a bake from Justin Longmuir, they got something completely different with the Senior Coach reiterating that the players were matching it with their opponents outside of a 12 minute period of dominance by the Dees.
Longmuir said he saw this positivity reflected in the players and they delivered by kicking 13 of the last 14 goals of the match.
“The positivity at half-time was really strong. We played a great brand of footy in that second half,” Longmuir said.
“(We played the second half) how we were in the first quarter but more importantly, we were able to score.
“It’s (scoring) been a bit of an issue for us over the last couple of weeks with 30 and 40 points, so at half-time there was positivity around but in the back of my mind I was thinking ‘geez I wouldn’t mind hitting the scoreboard more’.
“We talked about it all week, the game plan, we weren’t executing that to our fullest the last couple weeks, but then there are the behaviours behind the scenes that really do drive your game plan, that’s your trademark and we wanted to have our best trademark game of the year.
“I think we’ve been a team that has had a real even contribution from all players and I feel like we got that again tonight, whereas the last couple of weeks we’ve probably had a few players that haven’t contributed as much as we would like.”
Longmuir had delivered some strong messaging around Fremantle’s dip in form mid week, saying people were getting ‘ahead of themselves’ following the Club’s 7-1 start to the season.
Despite this messaging, he wasn’t going hard on the players in review as he felt there was still commitment to the game plan.
“I wasn’t strong behind closed doors, believe it or not, when it come to the review it was really positive,” Longmuir said.
“In an AFL season, individually and as a team, not all goes your way and you are going to have some ups and downs.
“It is about sticking together and getting out of it together. That was the way we set up our review.
“Clearly there are a few things in wet weather conditions that we need to get better at both offensively and defensively, so we reviewed that and put that behind us.
“There are a lot things going on behind the scenes at footy clubs that (the media) don’t get to see and our fans don’t get to see that impacts performances.
“For me to tell you those things would be making excuses, so we don’t go there but we try to get around our players behind the scenes and we try and get them back to their best footy.
“So, I was strong (with comments in the media) last week but I think our players got that sense and they came to work with the right attitude, and it was about setting a path out of the poor form.”