- from afl.com.au
A DEMORALISING 67-point loss against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday was a giant step back for a Melbourne side that has been tipped to go places in 2018, coach Simon Goodwin concedes.
Goodwin said Sunday's performance was as bad a performance as the Demons have produced in a long time.
He said the club would have to live with the fact that people would start to question the Demons' finals credentials and whether they have indeed turned the corner.
"That's what you're going to get. That's the perception we've had for a while. We're working really hard to change that and today was a step backwards on that front," Goodwin said in his post-game press conference.
"We know that we're going to get challenged and I think that's the great thing about this game that you can have a result like that and you challenge yourself internally, as coaches, as players, and it's about how we respond now."
The Demons were slaughtered by Hawthorn on Sunday, scoring just 48 points and kicking 6.12 on a nightmarish afternoon for the red and blue.
Goodwin said the club was desperate to rebound against Richmond on Anzac Day eve, in what has become a showpiece game for the club under lights at the MCG.
"Today was a really disappointing day for the club. We've spent a long time building up the way we want to play and it didn't reflect anything that we like in how we want to play," Goodwin said.
"But we get an opportunity. We're in it together to respond and we get that chance against Richmond on a pretty big stage coming up.
"The reality is those question marks will remain the same. They're not changing until we do something about it consistently."
The Demons went goalless in the second and third quarters, with the players running out of answers as to how to move the ball given Hawthorn's ability to set up so effectively behind the footy.
"We didn't like the way we looked behind the ball, we didn't like the way we looked in front of the ball," Goodwin said.
"We lost our way structurally, but we tried some things. They didn't work and to Hawthorn's credit I thought they were outstanding."
Melbourne's lack of efficiency going inside 50 was another element of its game that was deeply concerning, but Goodwin was disappointed with how many points his side's defence leaked with the Hawks booting 18.7 for the afternoon.
"We're continuing to work on our stuff behind the ball," Goodwin said.
"That's something we haven't been happy with the whole year and we've got some work to do in that area. We've got to get back to doing some of the things we know we're good at."
Goodwin said there were no long-term worries for defender Neville Jetta, who rolled his ankle in the third term, only to return in the final quarter.
The Melbourne coach also said it was still too early to tell whether the match committee would make wholesale changes, given the gap between its next match.
Speedy defender Jayden Hunt is sure to come into the equation after a strong performance in the VFL on Saturday night, while Sam Weideman or Cam Pedersen will also be looked at given Melbourne's struggles for tall targets up forward.