PREMIERSHIP players Jake Lever and Michael Hibberd are a chance to return to Melbourne's frugal backline for its clash with Essendon at the MCG next Friday night.

The makeshift Demons defence was outstanding in their win over Gold Coast on Saturday night, restricting the Suns to 10 goals from 60 inside 50s, and it could get even better for the premiers in the not-too-distant future.

Following the victory, coach Simon Goodwin said Lever (foot) and Hibberd (calf) would be assessed during the week after almost returning against the Suns.

"We'll look at Hibbo and Jake to see where they are at but I'm really happy with the group we've got going at the moment," Goodwin said.

Jake Lever at Melbourne training on March 15, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

"They are playing well and have good cohesion together … they absorbed a lot of pressure really well."

Christian Salem and Harrison Petty are still missing longer term, but Trent Rivers made a successful return from injury, while Jake Bowey continued the incredible start to his career.

Bowey finished with 34 disposals, including a match-high 16 intercepts.

"He's a much-improved player," Goodwin said.

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"He's played in nine games for nine wins, so he's pretty lucky.

"He played an outstanding game last week, but it was more defensive, and he didn't get rewarded with ball in hand, and tonight he played exactly the same game and got some reward with the ball.

"He's going to keep improving, he's still a young player with a lot to learn, but he was great tonight."

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Goodwin was pleased with his team's response to a fast Gold Coast start, saying he walked away from Metricon Stadium a happy coach.

Counterpart Stuart Dew took plenty of positives away from the 13-point defeat, but was left to rue some poor decision-making going inside forward 50.

Dew said the Demons taught the Suns a lesson in composure.

"Where they got us is they were harder at key moments and made us pay," he said.

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"Where we can work on is just trying to mitigate those cough-ups that then lead to an easier goal than they should.

"We're pretty proud of the way they played tonight.

"That's a seriously good footy club. Their synergy is unbelievable in the middle.

"We had more inside 50s, so just some polish (required). We had some guys open at times and didn't get it to them and then bombed away. We're just lacking composure in some of those key moments."

Dew said late scratching Izak Rankine (corked quad) would be assessed through the week ahead of next Saturday's game against Greater Western Sydney in Sydney.