Melbourne coach Paul Roos says his players performed like they were on their end-of-season footy trip last round and need to lift for the final three games of the AFL season.
The listless Demons were thrashed by the Western Bulldogs by 98-points, with Roos describing their showing as “unacceptable”.
“The difficulty with this time of year is trying to get into the players heads,” Roos said.
“Clearly last week they looked like they’d switched off (and were) on their end-of-season footy trip.”
Roos said it was indicative of teams out of the running for finals, and cited the performances of Essendon, Gold Coast and the Blues, who all suffered heavy losses.
Facing fellow strugglers Carlton at the MCG on Sunday, Roos said his team, who are 14th on the competition ladder, still had plenty to play for.
“Whether it’s getting a spot on this list or somewhere else … there’s many reasons players should finish off the season really well.
“I would have thought they had a lot to play for and I hope they do but we will find out on Sunday.”
Roos hoped the player leadership group would reinforce that the team needed “maximum effort”.
“Hawthorn can win playing at 80 per cent but we don’t have that margin for error that the top teams have,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roos, who will on Sunday become just the 10th person to have coached and played 600 VFL/AFL games, said he was open to staying at the Demons in a part-time capacity after Simon Goodwin takes over as senior coach at the end of next season.
Roos said he would hand over some of his responsibilities to Goodwin next season to make sure the transition was seamless.
“Simon will have a much greater opportunity next year to do the things that assistants don’t usually get a chance to do before they get a senior job,” Roos said.
The former Sydney mentor flatly denied any interest in another full-time gig but said he was interested in some kind of future with the Demons.
“You need some clear air between old and new but I’m wedded to the club and I love it.
“If they wanted to chat about some sort of role, I’d be more than willing to help,” Roos said.