CO-CAPTAIN Jack Grimes says he experienced a range of emotions throughout Melbourne’s disappointing 2013 season.
The midfielder/defender said the scrutiny on the club and the players throughout 2013 had been incredibly intense.
“There can be a fair bit of pressure that builds up internally as well. It can escalate a little bit when personally you’re not performing to the level that you want to be as well,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“There were definitely times this year when I struggled and I probably felt like I had to put on a bit of a front [to show] that everything was OK and I was holding up fine. But definitely behind closed doors, there were sometimes where I felt like I was struggling and I probably had some self doubts as well.
“I don’t feel like I’ve changed the way I want to be or I didn’t want it to feel like it was affecting anyone else. I just thought it was my issue and I was trying to deal with it and get as much help with it as I can.”
Grimes said just two wins for the year couldn’t have been further from what he expected.
“It is hard to look back on it now, after having so much hope,” he said.
“Guys were tested more than they have been and guys have really developed in that area, because you don’t get tested like that too often to go through what some guys have been through. There’s no doubt that the guys would’ve learned a lot more about themselves this year, more than any other year I reckon.
“What I’m really proud of with this place is the way the group stuck together and at no stage did I ever feel like we’ve fractured as a group or started blaming individuals. It’s been really good to see that we’ve been looking out for each other and helping each other through it, as tough as it’s been.”
Grimes said the opening two losses to Port Adelaide and Essendon were the toughest to endure.
“The first two rounds – the bad loss in round one and then the Essendon loss in round two – were pretty overwhelming for a lot of the guys,” he said.
“We just didn’t see that coming and we felt like we’d improved so much from last year and had moved so far forward. To be hit with that first up was pretty hard. It was especially hard for some guys who had come into the club and probably hadn’t experienced anything like that as well.
“It was really tough to see those guys have to deal with that and young guys deal with that as well. There were a few tough moments this year, but that was probably one that most guys struggled with a little bit.”
Grimes said he relished being captain for the second successive year – albeit in difficult times – and was keen to retain the position under new coach Paul Roos.
“I love it and it has been tough at times, but I absolutely love it. I know Trenners does too and he’s been through some struggles himself as well, but I feel like the two of us, we’ve developed a lot in the role and I feel like every day we come in a better captain and leader than we were the day before,” he said.
“Moving forward, I’ll respect whatever decision is made in that regard, but I’d love to stay in the role and keep the role, because I feel like I’ve developed over the last two years, more than I’d hoped in my life.
“I’m sure I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I’ll keep trying to learn from them and keep trying to improve myself. I know one thing for sure, I’ll give everything to the role and make sure that I can be the best leader that I can be.”