Now they’ve shown their backbone, Melbourne need consistency.
The Demons will host North Melbourne in Sunday’s AFL match at the MCG following a tumultuous week.
After learning their teammate Jesse Hogan has cancer, they rallied at Adelaide Oval last weekend to shock the Crows and post their best win of the season so far.
On Tuesday, Hogan’s surgery to remove a tumour was successful and he could be back playing in as few as four to eight weeks.
Meanwhile, the season rolls on and the Demons, who have a 4-4 record, will start warm favourites against the Kangaroos (2-6).
But Melbourne remain without a recognised ruckman and North’s Todd Goldstein is one of the best in the game.
The Demons also have a 15-game losing streak against the ‘Roos.
And while the Crows win showcased their finals credentials, the Demons also narrowly lost to Hawthorn the week before.
North, who are better than their record suggests, will rightly fancy their chances of an upset.
Melbourne forwards coach Troy Chaplin said a big part of this week’s preparations was making sure the players thought about why they played so well against Adelaide.
“What were the one or two things individually and as a group that the guys can continue to drive this week?” Chaplin said.
“Whether it’s our leader or our second-tier players, they need to understand that it doesn’t matter who you play – you need to bring that week in, week out to get the result.
“Otherwise, you’re going to have an up-and-down season.”
Setting aside the enormity of what Hogan continues to go through, his extended absence is obviously a challenge for Chaplin and the Melbourne forwards.
As Chaplin notes, Hogan is the sort of forward who demands the ball.
But Hogan has only played four games this season and Melbourne are the fifth-best scoring side.
Small forward Jeff Garlett leads Melbourne’s goalkicking with 20.
Chaplin, the former backman in his first season as an AFL assistant coach, does not care who kicks the goals.
“The more guys we get having an impact, the harder we become as a group to defend (against),” he said.
“We’re no doubt a better team when Jesse is in it, that’s certain, but at the same time it’s a great opportunity for the guys to pick up the slack.
“To the guys’ credit, they’ve done that when those opportunities have arisen this year.
“The guys have really taken on the ‘team first’ approach and looking after each other.”