FOLLOWING a seven-point loss on Friday night, Melbourne has slipped outside the top-two on the AFL ladder.
But with two matches remaining in the home and away season – against quality opponents in Carlton and Brisbane – its destiny will be in its own hands.
And the chance to bounce back at the MCG next week is something vice-captain Jack Viney is already thinking about.
“Really looking forward to those opportunities against some of the better teams in the comp,” he told Melbourne Media post-game.
“Obviously still things to work on before finals so we’re giving it everything we’ve got.
In front of over 70,000 spectators, it was a battle between second and third in Round 21, and it lived up to the hype.
“Tonight was a real finals-like atmosphere,” Viney said.
“I think the Demon Army gave the Collingwood supporters a real good run for their money tonight.
“Hopefully we finish with some big crowds to finish the season.”
Falling by seven points in a shootout against the Magpies, it was a chance gone begging for the Dees who controlled patches of the match.
“[We] felt like we dominated in certain areas of the game but dropped off in the last [quarter],” Viney said.
“They were able to grind away and get the win in the end.”
Melbourne headed into half-time with a 17-point lead, but the margin probably didn’t reflect the style of game.
The home side were plus 47 disposals, plus 23 inside 50s and plus 15 clearances, but hadn’t truly capitalised.
“We felt like we were doing a lot of things well but still allowing them opportunities to stay in the game,” Viney said.
“That’s going to happen against good teams, they’re going to make the most of those opportunities and make you pay.
“Whilst we were happy with what we were doing, we still felt we were keeping them in the game, which ends up costing us when you get to the last quarter.
“It was a pretty fierce contest for four quarters, but they were just able to sustain it a bit longer than we were.”