A LACK of composure rather than a lack of resilience was to blame for Melbourne's costly fadeout against Geelong, forward Tom McDonald says.
The Demons' mental toughness is again being questioned after they suffered another close loss, going down to Geelong by two points at GMHBA Stadium.
Melbourne led by 29 points early in Saturday night's final quarter but were overrun by the rampant Cats, with Zach Tuohy's goal after the siren capping off a famous comeback.
Ruckman Max Gawn was forced to leave the ground under the blood rule during the frenetic final 90 seconds, forcing McDonald to take on ruck duties and leaving the Dees undermanned down back as Geelong went coast-to-coast.
"I think we were in a little bit of disarray," McDonald told reporters on Monday.
"We probably would have sent either me or Max behind the ball and some more numbers to push back. I think we made a mistake with maybe having too many numbers around where the footy was and not having enough back in play."
The Demons are yet to beat a fellow top-eight side this season and are 0-4 in games decided by fewer than two goals.
McDonald believes the team's decision-making under pressure is a key factor and says it's hard to compare a midfield led by 21-year-old Clayton Oliver and 22-year-old Christian Petracca against the far more experienced Geelong unit.
"It's probably more the composure side of it rather than resilience, because it's not the effort and it's not the desire side of it," McDonald said.
"It's more thinking clearly at that stage of the game when you're just exhausted and the crowd are really loud ... it was deafening down there, and an all-Geelong environment pretty much.
"It's a tough position to be in for players, because they're trying so hard to win that you're almost not thinking clearly because you just want it to happen so badly."
Melbourne's quest to break itds 12-year finals drought faces another test on Saturday when they travel to Adelaide to face the Crows.
The Demons expect co-captain Jack Viney (toe) and All Australian backman Michael Hibberd (quad) to return for their round 21 clash with Sydney.