Goodwin keeps faith with Demons' AFL hopes

Simon Goodwin (centre) sees no reason to panic after the Demons lost top spot on the AFL ladder.
Simon Goodwin (centre) sees no reason to panic after the Demons lost top spot on the AFL ladder.

Melbourne have lost top spot on the AFL ladder and could slip as low as third by the end of the round, having won just two and drawn one of their last six matches.

But Simon Goodwin isn't ready to hit the panic button just yet.

Instead, the Demons coach was buoyed by much of what he saw in a 20-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night.

Goodwin put the 13.7 (85) to 9.11 (65) loss down to some "anomalies", including the Bulldogs' unusually heavy scoring from forward-50 stoppages and Melbourne's inability to nail set shots at crucial times.

"I think we're pretty close as a footy club, we're not far away," Goodwin said post-match.

"There was a lot to like tonight, we didn't get the result and I'm sure our supporters will be disappointed, but there was enough in the game to indicate we're still well on track.

"We're certainly not going to jump at shadows.

"We're going to be pretty consistent in how we approach our weeks and games and how we look at the game, and there wasn't much in this game."

Melbourne entered round 19 ranked sixth for scoring and failed to kick more than nine goals for the fourth time in their last six matches.

Goodwin has experimented with Ben Brown coming back into the attacking mix over the last three weeks and isn't worried about a perceived lack of firepower.

"It's really about maximising opportunity and being efficient when you need to," Goodwin said.

"Clearly we had our chances tonight to kick a bigger score, there's no question about that, so I'm not worried one bit.

"Our belief is still really strong in the way we play ... we sit here confident.

"Would we like to score more? Of course we would, but it wasn't a major issue. We had our chances tonight."

Former North Melbourne spearhead Brown kicked two goals against the Bulldogs, taking his tally to eight in six games for Melbourne this season.

"He was pretty strong on the night, he gave us a really good target and competed really strongly," Goodwin said.

"He had five or six shots at goal for 2.2 ... he's improving every week and giving us a different target, and you can see that starting to pay dividends for us down the track."

Melbourne expect to meet Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium in round 20 but are braced for further fixture changes as the AFL navigates its way through various COVID-19 restrictions.

Australian Associated Press