Melbourne players walk off the ground after the R21 loss to Collingwood at the MCG on August 5, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

MELBOURNE will seek to redress a concerning trend of squandering commanding leads as it aims to lock away a top-four spot.

A narrow defeat to Collingwood on Friday night marked the fifth time this season the Demons had lost after leading by at least 20 points.

It left the reigning premiers third on the ladder ahead of a tough finish to the regular season, with matches against Carlton (seventh) and Brisbane (fifth) to come.

Melbourne's fadeouts were flagged by coach Simon Goodwin as a focus area in the build-up to the Magpies match, and defender Jake Lever expects it will again be raised this week.


Lever said the seven-point defeat - after the Demons led by 23 points before half-time - left him "probably as flat as I've been after a game".

The former Adelaide intercept king conceded Collingwood had scored far too easily from its forward entries.

"We have been in a lot of situations where we've played some good footy, particularly throughout the first half, and we have let things slip," Lever told reporters on Monday.

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"Whether that's through role-playing or potentially just thinking about the result, rather than continuing to focus on our process.

"For us, we felt like on Friday night we let one slip."

Jake Lever fires off a handball during the R21 clash between Melbourne and Collingwood at the MCG on August 5, 2022. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Despite losses in three of its past five matches, Lever is confident Melbourne can earn itself a double chance for the finals by sewing up a top-four position.

The Demons are level with Sydney and Brisbane on 56 points, with sixth-placed Fremantle (54 points) just half a win further back.

"It's obviously pretty important, I think the history suggests that, but the good thing is it's in our own hands," Lever said.

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"If we win the next two we finish top four, so that's super important for us.

"But we understand that we've just got to play the footy that we know and can't think about the result - we've got to think about the process."

Lever said Melbourne's defence - ranked No.1 in the competition for points conceded - was excited by the prospect of taking on Carlton stars Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay.

Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow celebrate a goal against the Western Bulldogs in R13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Curnow leads the Coleman Medal race with 61 goals, while last year's winner McKay (40) has also caused plenty of headaches for defenders this season.

"We know that they've got a lot of scoring power up there but guys like Steven May, Hibbo (Michael Hibberd) and Harry Petty thrive off that sort of stuff," Lever said.

"We'll have a good look at them and we'll be looking forward to the challenge."