COACH Simon Goodwin says defeats such as his side’s two-point loss to Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday are part of the team’s journey to becoming a best it can possibly be, but he acknowledges that it was still far from what he expected.
Goodwin said one poor quarter against Fremantle – when Melbourne kicked 0.3 to 7.4 – was ultimately what let his team.
“[We’ve had] two quarters in two weeks that haven’t resembled what we want to be as a footy club,” he said.
“We’ve played some pretty solid footy in the first month of the season, but we’ve had two quarters, which doesn’t resemble anything like us.
“In the third quarter, Fremantle was fantastic and we were under a lot of pressure.”
Goodwin said his side’s inexperience wasn’t a factor against the Dockers.
“We’ve got to give Fremantle a lot of credit, but in terms of where we’re going as a footy club, we have to be more composed … and learn – that’s part of becoming a good team,” he said.
“[We’ve got to] be able to learn in those situations, when you’re under the most pressure.
“Probably the last two weeks, we haven’t stood up to that pressure well enough.”
Goodwin said the poor third term was far from a mental issue.
“Our ability to respond in games this year has been very good,” he said.
“In round one against St Kilda in the first quarter, the last quarter against Carlton in round two and when we were challenged at three quarter-time [against Fremantle], I thought the boys were terrific.
“That’s the pleasing aspect of the game – that we were able to respond, so I think that’s something we are proud of.”
But Goodwin praised his players’ efforts to come back in the final term, after it trailed by 22 points at three quarter-time.
“I thought they were brilliant in the last quarter and we gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game,” he said.
“Once again, we lacked a little bit of composure late and once again, when the pressure was on, our ability to use our numbers and lower our eyes inside 50 was something that we need to continually work on.”
Meanwhile, Goodwin praised the performance of small forward Jeff Garlett, who notched up his 150th AFL game.
“He was clearly one of our best players, Jeff,” he said.
“It was his 150th and I think it was an important day for him personally and what he brought to the team was exceptional.
“His forward pressure has been fantastic all season and he’s important player for us.”