Melbourne will be looking to rediscover its defensive “Hall” over the next six days ahead of a potential trip out west to face Fremantle on Friday night.
The Devils scored 100 and 100 points for the first time in three years in Saturday night’s 10-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in a spectacular shootout at Marvel Stadium.
Simon Goodwin’s side have lost five of their last eight games and lost the invincibility they once boasted despite leading by a game-high 27 points at the end of the second term.
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But it was the Bulldogs’ ability to run wide against the reigning premiers’ defence, which is missing All-Australian Jake Lever (shoulder), that worried Goodwin the most.
“It’s a missed opportunity on our end,” Goodwin said.
“(But) it’s just the games against the Western Bulldogs – they’re in the process and we’ve been through it before. Maybe 110 points is not a normal game for us in Melbourne.
The Bulldogs definitely made the game look like their game for a long time, and that’s what allowed them to get back into the game…so we’ll go ahead and see that.
Melbourne could be out of the top four by the end of the next round if they do not avenge their Round 11 loss to the Dockers at the MCG after a 17-match winning streak.
“When you lose tight games this time of year, it hurts,” Goodwin said.
“Our challenge as a football club now is to respond quickly and that response should come against Fremantle next week…but like I said, 110 points is not the way we want to play.
“(Then it was) the third quarter where they dominated at halftime – those are two things we’re going to look at.”
Goodwin expects Lever to feature in Fremantle but is less confident about skipper Ben Brown, who continues to manage a career-ending knee injury.
“We’re just going to take control this week, but hopefully we’ll get it out there,” Brown said.
“He went for an easy run (Saturday) and we’ll see how he picks up over the next few days.”
James Jordan (knee) played in Saturday night’s game but will be monitored throughout the week.
– NCA Newswire