What hurt most was knowing they deserved to be booed.
Melbourne captain Jack Grimes and key defender Jack Watts said Demons fans had every right to turn on the team after Sunday’s round-one AFL shocker against Port Adelaide at the MCG.
After a strong pre-season and a competitive first half, Melbourne fell apart and could only manage one behind in the third term.
The fans let them have it at three-quarter time and after the final siren.
“It feels shocking – but they’ve got every right the way we played today,” Watts said of the fans’ reaction.
“You’d hope your supporters would really stick by you and support you through no matter what.
“But jeez … with what they’ve been through, I certainly don’t blame them.
“We’re going to have to do something to change.”
Similarly, Grimes said it was a bleak feeling at the end of the match.
“Walking off the ground, when you hear some of the stuff they’re saying, you think, ‘fair enough’,” he said.
Watts said it was “right up there” as one of the worst games in his time at Melbourne.
He had a particularly bad day and had no answers for his poor form.
“They really did a number on me and it hasn’t happened often in my career,” he said.
“I’m going to have sort that out so it doesn’t happen again, because today was a shocking effort “
Grimes said it was now critical that the team stuck together and rallied quickly ahead of next Saturday’s match against Essendon.
“We’re not going to start blaming people, individuals to make us fracture,” he said.
“There’s a lot of guys who need to have a good, hard look at themselves, but we’ll stick together, that’s what we know we will do.”
The worst part was not understanding how it went so badly, so quickly.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Grimes said.
“We’ve taken our training to a new level, and I along with everyone expected to see a reflection out on the field. We just didn’t get it.”
To add to the embarrassment, two of their best players were first-gamers Jack Viney and Matt Jones.
“How can that happen in a round one clash against Port Adelaide when everything is on the line?” Watts said.