MELBOURNE will keep the faith that its best is still capable of earning a NAB AFL Women's preliminary final spot.
Rather than dwell on the reality of living dangerously in the ultra-competitive Conference A, the Demons are focused on the task of beating Greater Western Sydney at Blacktown on Sunday to remain in contention.
"It's a bit brutal that way. If it was any other season and the top four qualified (for the finals), you would think you were doing the right things. But, at the end of the day, you have to be in the top two (in a conference) and we lost to Fremantle and North Melbourne (by four points last Sunday), so we're sitting where we are (fourth in the conference) for a reason," Demons co-captain Elise O'Dea said.
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"If you get too caught up in that, you might lose sight of the big picture, which is to play a brand and game-style that we're proud of and know will hold us in good stead in years to come. We believe our best can match it with anyone.
"Obviously, the negative was that we got so close (to the Kangaroos) and could've won. We learnt a lot from the game (and) there are certainly a lot of aspects we could've done better.
"We were happy with our defence and some of our contest work, but there are improvements we can make across the board, especially in offense."
Melbourne is banking on its improved away record this season, having beaten the Lions by 39 points in Brisbane in round three. Last season, successive losses to Fremantle in Perth and Collingwood in Alice Springs denied the Demons a Grand Final place.
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"It definitely felt a lot more professional when we went to Brisbane…in a sense we thought we had gone there to do a job," O'Dea said.
"In previous years we may have got overexcited with the lack of experience travelling (as a team) in general. It is difficult playing away from home because you've got to generate your own energy on the ground. You definitely get better the more you do it."
Demons coach Mick Stinear said he sensed a resolve among his players to win, rather than simply enjoy the trip north when they gathered to board the Brisbane flight.
"Our leaders wanted to make it clear that the enjoyment would come off the back of hard work, getting the reward with the four points." he said.
"Previously, it might have been about spending time with each other, I guess, (and) the novelty of travelling. But now we've got a really driven and determined group which can prioritise their preparation and bring their best performance.
"From the moment we met at the airport, they knew they had a job to do. So, that was a positive shift."