Paxy Paxman handballs during the R9 match between Melbourne and Fremantle at Casey Fields on October 28, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

MELBOURNE ace Paxy Paxman is no guarantee of playing in next weekend's qualifying final after being a late withdrawal against Brisbane with a hamstring issue.

Paxman was named in the Demons' final 21 an hour before the game, but was the latest of late changes after warming up.

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Following his team's 25-point loss to the Lions that cost them the minor premiership, coach Mick Stinear gave an update.

"It was hamstring awareness, hopefully not a strain," Stinear said.

"At this stage there was enough there to not push her through the game.

"We'll know a bit more about Paxy in the next 24 hours.

"We missed a bit of her drive and spirit out there today and hopefully she's good to go next week."


Paxman was not the only injury concern with Rhi Watt out of the game by quarter-time suffering from concussion.

The loss, Melbourne's second of the season, dropped them from first to second on the ladder and a date with North Melbourne next weekend.

Stinear said there was plenty to learn from the Lions defeat before facing the Kangaroos.

"It's an interesting feeling isn't it? You want to finish the home and away season on a high, but it wasn't the case tonight," he said.


"We won't gloss over that and go straight into finals. Take the learnings and gear up and go again. There's not a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves."

Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich was measured following his team's win, although conceded some passages of play were "the best stuff we've ever played".

After losing to St Kilda just seven days earlier, the return of Cathy Svarc (illness), her sister Ruby (calf) and two-goal winger Sophie Conway (hamstring) made a huge difference.

"When they're disappointed after not performing at their peak, they generally respond," Starcevich said of his team.


"Tonight was part of that, part of the last game of the season (Grand Final) last year. There's some things there they wanted to atone for.

"They're a good group like that. They actually do circle the wagons a bit and say: 'It's us against the world' and away they go."