HAVING clinched its first minor premiership since 1964, Melbourne says its job is only half-done as it launches into the finals series aiming to break a 57-year flag drought.
The Demons were ecstatic after their remarkable comeback win over Geelong on Saturday night that saw them top the ladder and set up a qualifying final clash with Brisbane.
But coach Simon Goodwin said the Demons were not yet satisfied as the club embarks on a premiership tilt and its first finals series since 2018.
CATS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
"What you saw after the game was genuine emotion. The playing group had worked incredibly hard to work themselves back into the game, as did the staff, and we wanted to be in a position where we finished as high as we could up the ladder to give ourselves the best opportunity," Goodwin said post-game.
"We'll reset and refocus ourselves. We know that's one season down and a new season will begin next week. We'll enjoy this moment for what it is but come tomorrow our players will be firmly focused on the task at hand and we're only halfway through what we want to achieve."
With the game played in front of no fans at GMHBA Stadium as Victoria continues its latest COVID-19 lockdown, and the Dees set to play their finals out of their home state, Goodwin said he hoped the club's achievement at finishing the regular season on top of the ladder had lifted supporters.
"It's been a long time since they've seen their side compete and have character in the way they showed tonight and I'm sure they sit at home incredibly proud of the boys' performance – not only tonight but throughout the whole season so far," Goodwin said.
"I think they sit there with hope that this team can continue their form and compete really strongly when the time comes and it really counts. It's been a long time, they've been starved of success and they should enjoy this moment."
Goodwin praised match-winner Max Gawn for his performance, not just his after-the-siren goal that saw the Demons get up by four points but his dominance in the ruck that helped shape his side's comeback from 44 points down midway through the third term.
The coach said Gawn, who missed a late shot against Geelong in a 2018 clash, had worked hard at that part of his game.
"He's had an opportunity against the Cats before so I was pretty confident. He's spent a lot of time on his goalkicking and he's our skipper and he recognises the moment. It was an important kick for us and he nailed it," he said.
Gawn had the shot after a pass from Jake Lever, who had been the beneficiary of a 50-metre penalty awarded when Geelong's Bradley Close punched the already out-on-the-full kick further out of bounds.
But Geelong coach Chris Scott said there were multiple confusing calls late in the game.
"I haven't seen [a 50-metre penalty like that] for a while. It was a very strange situation. What we try to coach in those situations is the player should fight as hard as he can to touch the ball before it goes out on the full so I think he's entitled to contest the ball," Scott said.
"But I think the decision before that for the insufficient intent free kick [for Geelong] was probably a bit strange as well so you win some you lose some."
Scott said the Cats may have moved from "staying in the moment" in the second half against the Demons with their top-four spot assured. The defeat will see the Cats travel to Adelaide to take on Port Adelaide in a qualifying final next week, with Scott confident his side was ready for a longer time on the road if required.
"We think our game is in pretty good shape notwithstanding the last 40 minutes of this game," Scott said.