Premiership-winning Melbourne Demons defender Steven May has often courted controversy throughout his AFL career, and now he has revealed how his coach hung up on him after a drinking session when he moved to the club in 2019.
May was a high-profile recruit for the Demons during the 2018 off-season but failed to live up to his potential in his first year as a groin injury robbed him of half the season.
Melbourne would crash to 17th on the ladder that year and May was lashed for being spotted in public in a very controversial drinking session while rehabbing that groin injury.
Now he has revealed the reasons why he went on that infamous pub session – and the severe response he got from coach Simon Goodwin.
‘It was a 12-13 week injury. Throughout that period I was trying and trying to get back, I was starting to go well, and then me and my girlfriend broke up,’ May told the Ausmerican Aces podcast.
‘It was a pretty tough breakup. I went to the pub and had a few beers on my own, got photographed having a beer.
May found his career at a crossroads after being photographed having a beer while injured after his high-profile switch from the Gold Coast Suns to the Melbourne Demons
May was accused of not focusing on his football because he was drinking while injured
Coach Simon Goodwin was very blunt with his prize recruit and ultimately hung up on him
‘”Goody” rang me and he was very angry. I said, “Mate, calm down, I just had a couple of beers, my missus was waiting to go to the airport and we’d just broken up,’ May continued.
‘I didn’t want to be at home with her.
‘He said, “You’re in rehab, you can’t drink.” I said, “I know that but I just had a breakup”, but he said, “No, you can’t drink” and just hung up.
‘I was like, far out, stuff this. I didn’t really care, not a big deal.
‘I didn’t realise it would be in the newspaper tomorrow, all the footy talk shows, and I got absolutely dragged. It was very tough.’
May then revealed the response he got from teammates following the very public lashing he copped for drinking while injured and the advice he got that helped him bounce back.
‘I didn’t know what to do. I had to stand up and apologise to my teammates. I told them what happened and they were like, what are you apologising for?’ he said.
‘They all said “don’t go to the pub next time”. I didn’t really have any friends yet because I wasn’t playing games, I was injured.
‘That was really tough and I sought out some advice. “This is really hard, what have I done? I should have stayed on the Gold Coast, I’ve made a blunder here”.
‘On the Goldy I could have had 10 beers at the pub and I would have been fine.
‘I got some good advice – “no one cares what you’ve got to say, just get fit again, show them how good you are, I’m telling you they’ll jump back on your side”.’
May was given some sage advice by a teammate which helped him turn his form around after his rough start to life as a Demon
AFL legend Paul Roos was one of many who joined the pile-on when May was lashed for drinking while injured
May ended up having the last laugh, winning a premiership and being named a two-time All Australian
It comes after premiership-winning coach Paul Roos previously lashed May and said his focus was not on his football career.
‘What I do know, footy is not a priority for him. Clearly not a priority,’ Roos said after May moved to the Demons in 2019.
‘Now what that is at the moment I’m not 100 per cent certain, but it’s not football. That’s not his number one priority. Let’s be really clear on that.
‘If football was his number one priority – now I don’t know what he’s going through if he’s going through some off-field issues. What I’m saying is, football is not his priority.’
Melbourne finished 17th in 2019 before improving to ninth place in 2020 and then winning the premiership and minor premiership in 2021.
May was named an All-Australian in 2021 and 2022.