MELBOURNE coach Paul Roos has spent this week reminding the Demons they are improving, despite their last-minute loss to St Kilda last week.
The Demons hit the lead with 41 seconds remaining after a Jeremy Howe goal, but the Saints took the ball out of the next centre bounce and Leigh Montagna streamed into an open goal to put the Saints two points ahead with 19 seconds remaining.
A number of costly moments in the last passage of play proved disastrous for the Demons, but Roos has taken an optimistic approach around the club this week after positive signs across the past fortnight.
"Where we're at, you'd love to win the game ... but having said that, it's really about the journey. That's what I've been trying to remind the players, [that] there was a lot of really good things," Roos said.
"Both teams are really similar in their development and where they want to head. We feel we've had two really good weeks but haven't had a result.
"The key to it is keeping the players really positive in those situations and reminding the fans and players themselves that they are improving and getting better. Otherwise you tend to go the other way and feel sorry for yourself and the bottom can fall out of the boat."
Roos said the players and coaches had learned from the final minute, and in their weekly game review discussed what could have been done better.
He said even if the Demons had pushed more players behind the ball after Howe's goal, they had still noticed some fundamental roles had not been carried out.
"Everyone learns and listens differently and there were also some roles that the players understood weren't executed, whether we had one back or two back," he said.
"It was a disappointing end to the game, but providing the players and coaches are learning from it, then we keep moving forward."
Melbourne midfielder Bernie Vince said after the game he thought there was several minutes left in the final term when the siren rang, and Roos was "surprised" when he heard some players didn't know how long was remaining.
There have been renewed calls for a countdown clock to be shown on the big screen at games, and Roos said he would have supported its introduction for last week's clash.
"We have the countdown clock, so it was probably something we don’t think about in the box," he said.
"When a couple of players said after the game they thought there was four minutes to go and you read 'Joey' Montagna said the same thing, that surprised me a bit because we've got it in front of us."
"Does [the countdown clock] add or detract [to the game]? I'm not sure. I know it's something the AFL have discussed or talked about. I would've said yes for last week, but if I had have been 'Richo' (St Kilda coach Alan Richardson) probably no. I don't think it's a bad thing, put it that way."
The Demons have recalled forward Chris Dawes (calf) for Sunday's meeting with Geelong at Simonds Stadium, with the former Magpie in for his first game since round seven.
Roos says the Demons hold no fears about heading down the highway and playing the Cats, who they haven't beaten since 2006. The Cats have won the past 10 games, and the past six have come at an average margin of 71 points.
Dawes' inclusion adds some experience to a team that loses Jack Grimes and Cameron Pedersen to hand injuries.
"He was out for a few weeks and we elected not to play him last week. He's certainly a lot fitter and healthier than when he was playing in those two or three games, where he was touch and go whether he'd get up each Thursday," Roos said.
"We're a lot more confident in his body at the moment."