MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin says his side is on the verge of turning around what has so far been a miserable season despite poor efficiency again thwarting it on Monday.
The Demons suffered their fourth loss in a row and ninth of the season – from 12 rounds – in a 41-point result against annual Queen's Birthday rival Collingwood at the MCG.
The latest defeat came despite thrashing the Pies in contested possessions (170-143) and clearances (46-29) and having two more inside 50s.
Teams don't typically lose with such numbers, something Goodwin conceded post-match.
"That's a strength (the contested work), and will continue to be a strength for us, hopefully, but our efficiency going inside 50 off the back of those wins and our ability to connect with the ball needs work," he said.
"It's a good problem to have in a lot of ways, because the stuff around the footy and the clearances is strong, but we need it to be better.
"Normally if you get those stats right in your favour and you get the supply, you win games of footy, but we're going to continue to be in this position if we don't get it better.
"We're working incredibly hard on it, and I'll say it again – we do it every session.
"We work on our goalkicking, we work on our inside 50 (connection, and) we're working on our fundamentals, so we'll get the reward at some stage."
Goodwin's men trailed from the outset but were only an accurate Tom McDonald set shot from slashing the deficit to 14 points 16 minutes into the fourth quarter.
Melbourne has kicked more goals than behinds just once from its past eight games, accumulating a ghastly 70.99 in that time, without even factoring in the complete misses.
Monday's 7.15 scoreline followed the Demons kicking just one goal from their last 12 scoring shots in last week's two-point loss to Adelaide in Darwin.
Melbourne's sloppy ball movement, particularly going inside 50 but apparent all over the field, let it down for the umpteenth time this season.
"There are things in our game where we're working really hard and giving ourselves opportunities," Goodwin said.
"Even in the third quarter, we had our opportunities to get ourselves right back in the game and get a result and we didn't, so it's frustrating.
"But it's not going to stop our path and where we want to go as a footy club. We want to continue to try and win as many games as we can moving forward from here.
"We've got a chance to reset in the break and continue to work hard, but I'm really hopeful and positive this playing group is going to forge a really strong second half of the year."
Goodwin was thrilled to see Steven May and Jake Lever together in his backline for the first time, labelling May's performance "outstanding" and feeling Lever improved as the match wore on.
There were also "encouraging" signs for 21-year-old forward Sam Weideman, who kicked multiple goals for just the second time this season, even as Tom McDonald struggled again.
"He really launched at the ball, he took some good marks (and) I thought he moved and led well at the footy, so he was a real positive for us," the coach said.
There was an unusual situation in the opening quarter with defender Sam Frost, who left the field under the blood rule because of a clash of heads with Christian Salem, but soon returned.
Frost lasted only a few minutes before going back to the bench for good, suffering from blurred vision and eventually failing a concussion test.
"Initially he was all clear – he just had a little cut to his head. He came off, got assessed and the incident didn't look like too much, so all the protocols were ticked off," Goodwin said.
"Then he went back out there and got some dizziness and blurred vision, so straight away they brought him off and he didn't get through the next 20 minutes."