THERE was no hiding Simon Goodwin's delight following Friday night's win over Brisbane, with the Melbourne coach describing it as the club's best of the season.
There's been plenty to choose from too, with the Demons now 11-1 following their barnstorming second half to overcome a 20-point half-time deficit against the Lions.
But Goodwin said given the context – seven days after defeating the Western Bulldogs, the big stage of a Friday night, and a horror first half – this took the cake to date in 2021.
"That's as impressive as we've had," Goodwin said.
"I thought our first half was as poor as we've played in terms of contest.
"Our real focus was just to get the game back on our terms.
"We challenged our group … and I thought our leaders' response was outstanding.
"I'm just incredibly proud of them.
"It's as good as we've played."
Goodwin said his team played "boring" footy in the first half and was unable to win contests at the coalface or in front or behind the ball.
Brisbane led most statistical categories at the main break, and could have led by more, before the Demons flipped the switch.
While the midfield started the resurgence, Goodwin was also delighted with his defence after conceding it was beaten early in the match.
DEMONS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
Not only did Steven May begin controlling the air, but Goodwin also highlighted the work of Christian Salem, Trent Rivers and Jayden Hunt, to not only stop their opponents at ground level, but generate the run they'd sorely lacked early in the game.
Salem was given an "early mark" and watched the final few minutes in his jacket, with Goodwin saying he'd be fine to play the Queen's Birthday game against Collingwood.
After barely seeing the ball in the first half, the forwards then had their turn, including dynamic Kysaiah Pickett, who kicked three goals.
"When 'Kozzy' gets near the ball you can just hear the crowd get involved in the game," Goodwin said.
"He brings that energy to our team … he provides pressure, he gives you spark, his ability to finish and impact the game is sensational."
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan was philosophical about his team's performance, lamenting a slight lack of efficiency in the first two quarters.
After winning seven straight matches, Fagan said it was probably the first time they'd played a bad half in that stretch.
"I can't fault the application and work ethic of our players," he said.
"We probably should have had a bigger lead at half-time and didn’t.
"They responded very very well in second half."
Fagan agreed Melbourne was the best team the Lions had played this year, describing their effort to win 11 from 12 games as "phenomenal".
Ryan Lester suffered a re-occurrence of a hamstring injury he just missed two matches with, but Fagan said with a bye on the horizon he expected him to be fine for the next match.
"I thought our guys, for some reason or another, we lost our energy. Maybe the break's come for us at a good time," Fagan said.