With Melbourne fast closing the gap, the Dogs’ number one draft pick missed the target completely the first time – but was impressive when given another chance soon after.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says he will not address the growing hype surrounding his team with the players after they reclaimed top spot on the AFL ladder at the halfway point of the season.
The Demons were ruthless in a 28-point dismantling of the Western Bulldogs in a top-of-the-table clash on Friday night to reaffirm their premiership credentials.
External discussion in the coming days will no doubt centre on the Dees’ bid to end a 57-year flag drought, but Goodwin said that is the furthest thing from his players’ minds.
“This group has been sensational at just resetting and dealing with each week as it comes their way,” Goodwin said.
“I know from the supporters’ perspective it’s brilliant what the boys are doing and I’m sure our supporters are incredibly excited, and so they should be.
“But we’ve still got a lot of improving to do as a side in the second half of the year to be the team that we want to be and to execute when it really matters.
“That’s our sole focus – to reset every week and make sure we continue to improve as the year goes on.”
Melbourne beat the Bulldogs despite the fixture almost not going ahead after they were forced to undergo COVID-19 testing and isolate in the 48 hours before the game, which was given the green light on Friday morning.
The entire league faces more uncertainty around the schedule as Victoria grapples with its latest coronavirus outbreak.
The Demons are scheduled to take on Brisbane in Alice Springs next Friday night, but that fixture is likely to be rescheduled.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty around what that looks like,” Goodwin said.
“We all sit here in Victoria and pray that we get on top of COVID and we can reel this thing in, but from a footy perspective we don’t know and we’re okay in that space.
“We’ll deal with whatever comes our way and we’ll just move forward and prepare as best we can.”
Goodwin confirmed Melbourne wingman Ed Langdon will miss at least one match because of concussion suffered late in the win over the Bulldogs.
Langdon will serve a minimum 12 days on the sidelines and could return in the Queen’s Birthday clash with Collingwood.