OUTPLAYED. Not good enough. Focused on a better performance next week.
That's how senior coach Mick Stinear candidly reviewed his team's 41-point loss to North Melbourne on Sunday.
Following the match, Stinear joined media and was candid when explaining that the Dees did not play to the level required, holding no illusions as to where improvement needs to come from.
"We're really disappointed. We're thankful that we had a strong enough home-and-away season that we've got a double chance, we'll certainly use that," Stinear said.
"North today thoroughly deserved the win. It was backs against the wall in the first quarter, I thought the group did well to absorb that and work through it, but we never got to a stage where we could connect forward of centre.
"Their defence was very strong, and they opened us up going back the other way a number of times. I thought they played a really sound and complete game.
"We could have been stronger around the ball at times, and then forward of centre, we could have done more to create a contest and bring it to the front or win those contests.
"Then behind the ball we got scored against too easily at times. We certainly weren't taking North lightly, but they outplayed us today and gave us a bit of an update where we're at and where we need to get to."
Thanks to its double chance, Melbourne will now face Geelong next weekend in a do-or-die semi-final clash at IKON Park.
"Today, North were far too good, so it was a bit of a blowout, but we know it's close between those top four teams," Stinear said.
"Obviously Geelong and Sydney are now bridging that gap and they want to stake their claim on finals as well. It looks like a competitive top six at the moment.
"We think we're right in there with the best in the competition, obviously today's not good enough, and a performance like that is not going to be good enough next week against Geelong, either.
"We're under no illusions that today wasn't where we needed to be. The double-chance comes in handy, we need to have an edge and come out here with a much better performance next week."