Paul Roos admits Melbourne risks turning fans away from the club if the Demons can’t finish the season strongly.
Roos’ side has shown signs of improvement this season with six wins their best return in four years, but they were embarrassed by the finals-bound Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Melbourne conceded the first 12 goals of the game before slumping to a 98-point loss that Roos admitted would be hard for fans to stomach.
“Given the emails I get when we lose there will be some that drop off, there’s no doubt,” Roos said of his side’s 22nd consecutive loss at the venue.
“So the next three weeks are really critical. We know where we’re heading and the third quarter reinforces that – we got that right but it’s a frustrating day for everyone – there’s no question about that.”
After trailing by as much as 74 points in the first half, the Demons lifted their work-rate after halftime and outscored the Dogs five-goals-to-nil in the third quarter before returning to their shells in the final term.
Roos said that fightback showed his players had the ability to play decent football in the remaining three rounds if they can find the right motivation.
“It looked like, to me (today), a team that had top-four to play for against a team that’s looking for the year to finish,” he said.
“The worry is when you get to this stage of the year you can’t get in the players’ minds as to how hard they want to play the remainder of the season out.
“But I think Melbourne supporters are thinking ‘we’ve had a reasonable year, are we going to finish it off?’
“We’ve got to get them up now and make sure that they do finish off the year because when you don’t have that effort you can’t win.”