Coach Paul Roos has cautioned Melbourne can ill-afford to drop off against the AFL’s best teams, as they did in Sunday’s loss to Sydney.
The Demons fell victim to a suffocating Swans defence in driving rain at the SCG, leaving them in 10th place on the ladder and eight points outside the top eight.
Though the deficit grew with every break the visitors remained in the scrappy contest until the final term, when John Longmire’s side scored six majors to run away with a 55-point win and climb to second on the ladder.
Roos felt the wet conditions suited the Swans, who laid on a record 155 tackles led by Luke Parker (17 tackles) and Isaac Heeney (13).
But while Christian Petracca contributed two of the visitors’ total four goals and the efforts of Bernie Vince, Jack Viney and Nathan Jones were admirable, the Melbourne coach lamented the fourth-quarter fade-out.
“When our guys get in, make a tackle and compete, they’re able to create some things forward of centre … we’ve just got to do it for longer,” Roos said.
“We believe we’ve got the talent there if we can keep educating them to get to the level the Swans have got to, but they’ve been doing it for a long period of time.”
Roos juxtaposed the result with Melbourne’s 46-point thumping of Collingwood last weekend.
“With all due respect to Collingwood, we felt we played really good footy and Collingwood dropped off at periods of time.
“This time we’re the team that drops off because Sydney, Hawthorn and the other good teams don’t really drop off.
“That was the difference.
“We still felt we were really competitive, but they’re not going to drop off so we have to keep playing.”
The Demons have a bye next week, before hosting Adelaide in round 15.