Melbourne has been criticised for its “demeaning” explanation for the axing of star big man Brodie Grundy just months after luring him to the club.
Grundy was sold on being a star ruck tandem with Demons skipper Max Gawn when he moved from Collingwood in the off-season, and enjoyed a strong first half of the year when he shouldered the full ruck duties with Gawn sidelined through injury.
However, with the skipper now at full health, Grundy has been sent down to the VFL to “refine his forward craft” to allow Gawn to assume primary ruck duties.
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It’s an explanation that left veteran AFL columnist Damian Barrett scratching his head.
“I find it demeaning what they’re now subjecting Brodie Grundy to,” he told Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.
“To use that quote of him going back to the VFL to ‘refine his forward craft’, he’s been a ruckman for 10 years, he’s not a forward and he’s not going to become a forward in the space of two weeks of VFL play.
“So why did they go down the path of recruiting him and then 17 rounds into this first year of a deal that goes into 2027 on a total of $900,000 a year, $250,000 of that being paid by Collingwood.
“It just makes no sense and I just don’t like the ‘refine his forward craft’ need with the decision to go and get him.”
While Melbourne suggested that Grundy is on board with the decision, Essendon great Matthew Lloyd questioned whether he’d be able to get back in the team.
“They thought it could work,” he told the Sunday Footy Show.
“I admire the courage now to drop such a big-time recruit. I say ‘drop’ because I don’t think he’s going to come back as a forward.
“He’s pretty much a back-up for Max Gawn if he gets injured. They thought it was going to be different at the start but it just has not worked.”
“The narrative around the way they’re going to use him has changed from this time a month ago,” Port great Kane Cornes added.
“He’s never been a forward, he will never be a forward, he’s a No.1 ruckman and he’s got four and a half years left on his deal.”
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