IT IS rare that a 38-point defeat shows an AFL club "has come a fair way", but that was the case for Melbourne after its loss to the Sydney Swans, according to coach Paul Roos.

The Dees were blown out of the contest by last year's Grand Finalists in the opening half, outscored seven goals to one in a clinical Swans display. 

But Roos took heart from the fact his side hung in and won the second half by two points, showing resilience infrequently associated with the Demons in recent years. 

"I thought the second half tonight showed we've come a fair way as a footy club," Roos said post-match.

"That was (looking like) a 100-point loss at half-time and we played against a team that's clearly going to be at the pointy end of the season.

"I was really pleased with the players in the second half that they really fought it out, gave ourselves a chance to score and played the way we want to play.

"The first half we just couldn't get into the game because of their pressure. 

"If they're playing their best footy it's very, very difficult for us to play in the state we're in." 

The Demons were smashed in the inside 50 count (61-31) but the effort wasn't lacking. 

However, their disposal was at times deplorable, which Roos put down to the Swans' pressure. 

"You're looking at the way they're playing as well. If you watch us train we'll go through the corridor and link up," Roos said.

While the Demons' foot skills were costly, Swans forward Kurt Tippett (four goals) was the main beneficiary from his side's slick ball movement. 

But despite the Swans controlling the game, Dees defender Tom McDonald was able to hold superstar Lance Franklin goalless in another assured display.

"Tommy's learnt really quickly," Roos said.

"He's a quick learner, he's a good athlete, he's a competitor, he's able to action the things that we talk about during the week. It allows him to play well tonight and play well for six weeks." 

While McDonald gets better with every match, more questions have been asked of underperforming Jack Watts after he was named the starting sub for the first time in 28 games under Roos.

Watts gathered seven touches after coming on in the third term, with Roos conceding the pressure of expectation had to be affecting the former No.1 draft pick. 

"It has to be. The guy's been criticised for six years so it has to be. He's only human. If it was me I would probably be – well I would be – in Hawaii by now," Roos said, before renewing calls to scrap the sub altogether. 

"It drives me mad. It's probably the same reason it drives Stevie J (Steve Johnson) mad and it drives Adam Goodes mad and it drives John Longmire mad and Scotty (Chris Scott) and all of us."

Meanwhile, Roos said key forward Chris Dawes – who had his knee strapped - was battling a "cramp-type" calf injury, while Dom Tyson is expected to recover from a jarred knee in time to face Hawthorn in round seven.