Max Gawn leads the Demons off after their loss to GWS at TIO Traeger Park in round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

MELBOURNE has once again been left to lament its wastefulness in front of goal after its dramatic two-point loss to GWS in Alice Springs.

The Demons threw the game away with their 5.15 return proving costly in the narrow loss, which leaves their top-four spot vulnerable heading into the back-end of the season.

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Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said his side was "working incredibly hard" on their forward efficiency, but there was more work to be done.

"I can't question the players' effort, I can't question their want, their desire, really tough conditions - but to have 27 shots at goal, 70 entries, plus 40-odd in the contest and lose a game of footy, that's tough," Goodwin said.

"Inefficiency cost us again and it's something we need to get right.

"We're working incredibly hard on it but it's just not coming together ... if we keep that effort and we keep that work, it'll turn pretty quickly.

"We weren't able to take opportunities when we had them and our inefficiency cost us the game for a few weeks in a row now.

"So we need to get that right as a footy club ... we aint stopping in our bid to get better, we're gonna keep working on it and eventually the wheel will turn."


Melbourne kicked 8.18 in its loss to Geelong, 8.18 in its win over Collingwood and 8.13 when the Demons beat Carlton.

In better news for the Demons, Clayton Oliver is expected to make his eagerly-awaited return from a lingering hamstring injury against St Kilda on Saturday night.

Oliver has been out of action since round 10, when he sustained a minor hamstring injury against Port Adelaide.

An infected blister meant the ball magnet spent five days in hospital, which the Demons believe contributed to the hamstring tightening again.

The Demons and Oliver then had to reject rumours the midfielder's absence was due to off-field behavioural issues.

"[Oliver] did a really strong session today with match loads," Goodwin said

"He's still got to tick off his speed through the week but we're really hopeful that he'll be available next week.

"I know I've said that a few weeks now.

"So once he ticks those markers off, he'll be available.

"He's put in a couple of really good weeks of training."


The Demons will send Bayley Fritsch for scans after he was substituted out against GWS with a foot injury.

Fritsch, who has booted 29 goals this season, was forced out of the game after his left foot was stepped on in a first-quarter marking contest.

"He's been stomped on, on his foot, so we just have to check him and see how he is and get an update on that," Goodwin said.

"He pulled up really sore and straight away came off and got assessed and wasn't able to go on.

"So clearly he'll go and have a scan and we'll be hopeful it's the best case scenario.

"We'll get a scan tomorrow on that and we'll get all the information we need and then our doctors will make a really good decision on what the best progress is moving forward.

"But fingers crossed on Bayley."


GWS coach Adam Kingsley wouldn't buy into the idea the Giants had got out of jail, instead hailing his defence.

"The stats will say they were really dominant. I thought they had really good patches," Kingsley said.

"But I felt like we had our moments too.

"For us to be able to fight, keep strong behind the ball particularly, against a lot of entries ... I was really pleased with our performance."


The Giants appeared destined to fall short with about two minutes left in the final quarter before star Josh Kelly let loose with the decisive long bomb from 60m that sailed through the goals to seal the victory.

"It was a wonderful goal," Kingsley said.

"Even the decision to 'I'm going to take this on myself' and finish - that tells you enough about him".