Melbourne has been left to ponder another “failed season” with a list many believe should finish with more than one premiership to show for its immense talent.
For the second consecutive week, the Dees were left to bemoan their inaccuracy in front of goal, falling to Carlton by two points in front of more than 96,000 spectators at the MCG on Friday night.
The loss marked Melbourne’s second straight sets finals exit in as many years, becoming the first team to suffer such a fate.
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Gawn makes HUGE error in Demons’ loss | 00:23
While another top-four finish was the result of a solid home and away campaign, ex-captain Garry Lyon put it plainly on Fox Footy post-match: “Any way you look at it, it’s a failed season which is a bitter pill to swallow.”
A host of decisions from the Dees came into question on Friday night, as the side’s forward line failed to maximise its opportunities once more.
Meanwhile, a fit and available Brodie Grundy watched on from the stands after being overlooked once more, while sub Josh Schache was never even activated by the Dees.
“One of the difficult things about such a close loss like that is that every decision you’ve made will be scrutinised and it will be the wrong decision,” former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said on Fox Footy.
“Then every decision Carlton and ‘Vossy’ (coach Michael Voss) have made will be scrutinised and they’ll be the right decision.
“It’s the reality of a close loss like that and a season that hasn’t come to the fruition many thought it might.”
From their two finals, the Dees kicked a combined 16.28 to their opponents’ 20.13 and lost by a combined total of nine points.
Brisbane Lions premiership forward Jonathan Brown labelled the forward-half conversion Melbourne’s biggest area for improvement.
Carlton storm home to eliminate Demons! | 03:25
“It followed a similar pattern. Execution in the front half, tonight was as much about the inaccuracy in front of goal. That is their biggest concern,” he said.
“Obviously personnel and all those sorts of things, we know that, but if they can just sort out that front half (they’ll be better).”
Instead, Melbourne will have to grapple with another season of promise without fulfilment.
While Goodwin cast a steely resolve in his post-match press conference, Lyon said the 2021 premiership coach would be “absolutely gutted.”
“They’ve been in the top four for something like 58 of 62 weeks and they’ve got one premiership to show for it and they’ve lost their last four finals.”
“This would be heartbreaking for him.”
Pressed on whether the side had failed to maximise its talent to this point, Goodwin insisted improvement was still ahead.
“When you’ve had two years where you’ve set yourself up with an opportunity to perform strongly in finals and you lose twice in straight sets, there’s going to be criticism out there,” he admitted.
“As a footy club, we know we’ve got a list that’s building and we’re still going to continue to add to that. We also know we’re going to continue to put ourselves in a position where we can have the success we want to have.
“It just doesn’t happen, it’s hard to do and a lot has to go right. We’ll keep training hard, working hard, reviewing, finding ways to get better and come out the other side.”