MELBOURNE in in the midst of off-field turbulence and a mini on-field slump, but captain Max Gawn is adamant the wheels haven't fallen off.

The reigning premier faces a potentially season-defining Queen's Birthday clash with Collingwood.

GAWN EMBARRASSED Demons skipper condemns Steven May and Jake Melksham after fight

Less than three weeks ago, the Demons were unbeaten and perfectly on track to achieve their publicly stated desire of claiming a premiership in front of their fans at the MCG.

They have since lost to Fremantle and Sydney and been rocked by Steven May and Jake Melksham's alcohol-fuelled fight in a Prahran restaurant on Sunday night.

Steven May and Jake Melksham after Melbourne's loss to Adelaide in round 10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Star defender May was due to return against Collingwood but was suspended for Monday's blockbuster for drinking alcohol while in concussion protocols, while Tom McDonald is out until later in the season after foot surgery.

Melksham is also unavailable, requiring surgery after his hand, which he hurt in the fight, became infected.

"No, the wheels haven't fallen off," Gawn told reporters on Wednesday.

"I'm completely comfortable with where we are from a performance point of view.

Christian Petracca, Christian Salem and Adam Tomlinson after Melbourne's loss to Sydney in round 12, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

"Obviously we've lost the last couple. The Fremantle game was a complete hiding. We didn't play our best footy at all and that was a shock.

"Then the Sydney game we actually felt like we got back to some of our better basics in football and that was a ripping game, I think both teams played some ripping footy and Sydney was able to get some crucial goals late.

"So I don't think we're out of form at all."

May's absence couldn't come at a worse time.

Steven May and Max Gawn during Melbourne's clash with Gold Coast in 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Swingman McDonald's injury reduces defensive cover and also magnifies Melbourne's forward line issues with Ben Brown goalless in three games and Sam Weideman dropped.

"We are getting pretty thin and (especially) with Tom usually being the one that does cover for Steven," Gawn said.

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"It hurts and when we talk about the punishments given, I think that hurts Steven a lot as well, knowing that he's putting a lot of pressure on the likes of Harry Petty, Adam Tomlinson, Jake Lever, maybe (potential debutant) Daniel Turner, Jayden Hunt and Michael Hibberd.

"These sorts of guys are going to have to step up.

"In the forward line obviously, all us talls have been struggling to kick goals. So there's a bit of pressure on us talls to be able to kick them as well."