Outgoing Melbourne coach Paul Roos has urged his players not to carry the burden of their round 23 shellacking into the 2017 AFL season.
The Demons were buried by 111 points on Saturday by a Geelong team driven to finish in the top two on the ladder.
It was the worst loss of Roos’ time at Melbourne and the heaviest defeat of his 268-game coaching career.
But he said it could benefit his young side as they embark on a new era under new senior coach Simon Goodwin.
“I hope it’s a positive experience in terms of where they’re going and it spurs them on to be better,” Roos said.
“We’re not a finals team and we’ve got a fair way to go to become a finals team.
“Today was a stark reality in exactly where we are as a footy club.”
Melbourne’s players were ashen-faced after leaving the post-game review with Roos, in which he said he had to “not say something you’re going to regret”.
“The disappointment dissipates,” Roos said.
“Some carry it for a week, some carry it for a month, some might carry it even longer.
“Once a new season starts with a new coach, it’s exciting.”
While Roos dished out some home truths, he also talked up their prospects.
“I love what I see in the list,” he said.
“I love how young it is and how talented it is and how well it’s going to be coached moving forward.
“(Banned recruit Jake) Melksham hasn’t played for us. He immediately comes in as a very, very good player.”
He urged the club’s young brigade – led by forward Jesse Hogan, who finished his season with just two goals in his final five games – to begin their pre-season training from next week.
“My advice to Hogan and all of those young guys is you set your season up in the eight weeks when you’re not here,” he said.