|Full name||Mark Neeld|
|Date of birth||13 July 1971|
|Original team||St Joseph's|
|Height/Weight||188 cm / 88 kg|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1996 season.
Mark Neeld (born 13 July 1971) is a former Australian rules footballer who played with Geelong and Richmond in the Australian Football League (AFL) during the 1990s. He was senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club from 2012 to 2013, when he was sacked on 17 June after much scrutiny.
Neeld, originally from St Joseph's Football Club, started his football career with Geelong. He spent four seasons with Geelong and had his only full season in 1991, when he played 21 games, three of which were finals. Used on both ends of the ground, as both a defender and forward, he kicked three goals in the semi final against Hawthorn and two goals in Geelong's preliminary final loss to West Coast. In 1994, Neeld joined Richmond after being traded for the 38th pick of the draft, which Geelong used to recruit David Innella. He retired at the 1996 AFL season, having played 74 AFL games, 48 for Geelong and 26 for Richmond.
Shortly after his retirement as an Australian Rules Football player, he was appointed the new head coach of the Ocean Grove Football Club in the Bellarine Football League, taking over from Brendan McCartney (now at Western Bulldogs, McCartney had delivered premierships in 4 of the previous 6 years). As coach of Ocean Grove, Neeld steered the club to a further four successive premierships from 2000 to 2003. He then moved to the higher level Geelong Football League, for a two year term as coach of perennial finallist, and his junior club, St.Joseph's Football Club. After an unsuccessful initial season in 2004, he left with a year remaining on his contract, and spent the next three years as the Western Jets senior coach in the TAC Cup before appointed the defensive assistant coach of Collingwood in 2008. His coaching duties changed in 2010 when he was put in charge of Collingwood's midfield.
Melbourne Football Club
On 17 September 2011 it was announced that Neeld had agreed to become the senior coach of the Melbourne Football Club beginning in season 2012 on a three-year contract. Neeld agreed to leave Collingwood immediately, despite the fact that the club was still competing in the finals.
Upon being appointed Melbourne coach, Neeld promised that the Demons would play hard. This promise was fulfilled partially when Melbourne upset 2011 runners-up Collingwood in a NAB Cup match in early 2012. However, when the home-and-away season became underway in March, the Demons were defeated by the Brisbane Lions by 41 points in Round 1. Following this loss, the Demons went on an eight-game losing streak, which ended in Round 10 with a six-point victory over Essendon. The Demons went on to finish the season in third-to-last place, with just 4 wins from 22 games played.
Despite the off-season acquisitions of several players, such as Shannon Byrnes, Tom Gillies, Chris Dawes, David Rodan and Jack Viney, things did not improve for the Demons in the first half of the 2013 season, with just 1 win in their first 11 games. As a result of this poor start to the 2013 season, during the Demons' mid-season bye on 17 June 2013, Neeld was sacked as head coach. His sacking came within weeks of the departures of senior Demons' staff members Cameron Schwab and Don McLardy. Demons senior assistant coach, Neil Craig, was appointed as caretaker coach for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Neeld left the Demons with just 5 wins in 33 games coached, for a winning percentage of just 15%.
- AFL website
- "Mark Neeld". AFL Tables.
- Holmesby, Russell & Main, Jim (2007). The Encyclopedia Of AFL Footballers. BAS Publishing. ISBN 978-1-920910-78-5.
- Windley, Matt (17 September 2011). "New Melbourne coach Mark Neeld says Demons to play tough". Herald Sun. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
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