MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin has spoken of his pride at how his players responded in Sydney on Saturday night after a week chock-full of harsh public critiques.
It was Goodwin's and his Demons' turn to face the blowtorch over the past six days after a wasteful performance against Richmond saw them slump to a third loss in four starts.
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The fourth-year coach bristled when quizzed on that criticism – which varied from the media to past club greats and even a former assistant coach – after Melbourne outlasted Gold Coast by 17 points.
"There's been noise, there's been plenty of opinion, from a lot of people, so we'll just keep focusing on what we do and I'm probably not going to talk about that now," Goodwin said.
The Demons, like all 10 Victorian clubs, were forced to pack their bags and relocate interstate on short notice as the state's COVID-19 crisis rages on.
It came as Melbourne's 6-21 record since reaching the 2018 preliminary final became stat of the week before Goodwin's men inflicted the Suns' second straight defeat.
"I'm incredibly proud of our club. There's been a lot going on over the last three or four weeks in a whole range of different areas," he said.
"There's been some noise about how we've played but, like every club, we're dealing with a lot and to pick up and move to Sydney, have a six-day turnaround, with the scrutiny that we've had, that was an outstanding performance.
"We've still got a lot of work to do and it was certainly by no means perfect but … we're 2-3 and our season's rolling now and we have another big challenge (against Hawthorn) next week."
Goodwin hailed the performance of his leaders, including Max Gawn, Jack Viney and Jake Lever, as well as bookend inclusions Sam Weideman and Oscar McDonald.
Key forward Tom McDonald didn't play after leaving the ground following an accidental but "pretty severe" poke in his right eye and will be assessed in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Stuart Dew's Gold Coast would have lost no admirers with its performance but the coach was frustrated with the number of turnovers that led to Demons goals.
The scores were locked in the final quarter before Melbourne finished the better of the two sides.
Debutant Izak Rankine was superb with three goals among six scoring shots, and grabbed back the attention lost when No.1 pick Matt Rowell went down last week with a serious shoulder injury.
"You see what we've been waiting for and he had such an impact, which we knew he always would," Dew said of Rankine.
"We don't want to individualise the footy club, and we'll never do that, but we want to acknowledge and promote some excitement about our footy club and to see where we're going.
"Unfortunately, tonight the win wasn't part of our journey, but we do have to find a way to close those games out.
"We definitely had enough looks tonight and that's the one that will sit in our stomachs on the way back down the highway."