LEADING by 42 points at the 12-minute mark of the second term, Melbourne never should’ve been in a position to lose Saturday’s game, but it was.

Come the dying stages of the last quarter, scores were level, following Carlton’s run of seven goals to one.

It was a safe style of play which brought about the Demons’ downfall, but Jake Melksham says the gutsy victory is a good sign for his side.

“After half-time I think we played to save the game, instead of playing to win,” Melksham said on The Sunday Footy Show.

“That’s what you would’ve [seen] in the last 10 minutes when the game got tight, we started to play to win and found a way.

"The will was there which is great.

“This time last year we probably would’ve lost that game, so a little bit of maturity there and it worked out to be a good close win.”

The Dees blitzed in the opening term, kicking five unanswered majors to take a comprehensive lead into the first break, but from that point on, they seemingly lost the spark in the centre.

“I think what happened early in that second quarter, they started to get on top of us around the footy – winning the ball out of the middle,” Melksham said.

“Then we just became a little bit stagnant and, as I said, tried to save the game a little bit, and play a little bit more stable and defensively.

“We definitely could’ve put the game to bed a lot earlier and there’ll be some good learning from it during the week.”

Melbourne held onto a hard-fought one-point victory at Marvel Stadium, giving it eight days to recover for next Sunday’s clash with the Bombers.