Jake Lever during the round two match between Hawthorn and Melbourne at the MCG, March 23, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

MELBOURNE faces an anxious wait for medical reports on two of its most important backmen following Saturday's comprehensive win over Hawthorn at the MCG.

Steven May was hospitalised and fellow premiership defender Jake Lever was also hurt in the 55-point victory.

HAWKS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

May was in agony with chest pain, and taken from the MCG in an ambulance, after Mabior Chol collected him in a marking contest, while Lever's right knee was in a pressure bandage post-match.

"We're pretty hopeful that (Lever's knee) will be OK. We'll just have to wait and see on the back of the scan," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said.

"But clearly, Maysy, we just have to get checked off completely to find out what's going on with his ribs."


May was hurt in the second term, while Lever went off in the third.

After several unsuccessful attempts to bring him back on, the Demons took Lever out of the game for the final quarter.

In his first game of the season, Harrison Petty went back into defence after the two injuries.

"When you lose two key pillars pretty early in the second half ... Harrison Petty, Tom McDonald and Marty Hore did a great job down back for us," Goodwin said.

Mabior Chol and Steven May collide during the R2 match between Hawthorn and Melbourne at the MCG on March 23, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

While the expected loss of May and Lever will be a blow ahead of taking on Port Adelaide's tall forward line next week, otherwise the Demons had a lot to like.

Hawthorn amassed a whopping 53 marks, all but one uncontested, in the first term as they tried to stop the Demons.

"We're really comfortable with that type of strategy against us," Goodwin said.


Predictably, Finn Maginness went to Clayton Oliver and the Hawks put plenty of physical work into the Melbourne star.

Neither measure mattered, with the Demons kicking five goals to nil in the first term and killing off the game.

"We defended incredibly well ... to have (53) marks taken against you in the first quarter and only concede a point, and score on the back of that, that was certainly pleasing," Goodwin said.

"Our inside mids got to work and certainly gave us great use. We actually used that as a great scoring avenue - with that came some connection inside 50.

"There was a lot to like in the game."

The Hawks regrouped quickly and outscored Melbourne in the second term, but the Demons kicked clear after half-time.


For the second successive week, Hawthorn lost the centre clearances by a whopping margin of nine.

"Two weeks in a row, we've given up an enormous amount of field position through centre bounce and clearance work," Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said.

"That puts you behind the eight ball, especially against a side like Melbourne.

"We knew we needed to not cough up the ball in the back half, so we decided to possess the ball a bit more - 50 marks is a bit excessive.

"We just weren't able to execute the plan at all."


Last year, Goodwin derided Maginness as a player who didn't want the ball after he shut down Oliver. 

On Saturday, the Melbourne coach said he regretted that comment.

"I probably got that wrong last year and it came out the wrong way - it was a lesson for me," Goodwin said.

"He's a good player."

It was Hawthorn's lowest score against the Demons since 1960.