THE BAR has been set and making the AFLW finals is no longer good enough.
Melbourne finished with more wins than losses last season, but missed out on a spot in the finals to Fremantle – the side the Demons lost to in a round one heartbreaker.
After a thorough review of some tough losses over the past three years, the Demons are ready to hit the ground running with only one thing in mind.
"We want to give ourselves every chance to play off in that last game," Melbourne coach Mick Stinear said.
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"That's what we signed up for and that's what we aspire to do."
That message isn't just coming from the coach - it's a mindset within the playing group as well.
"Winning the whole thing is the goal," ruck Lauren Pearce said.
"Every year we say we have a good list and then we just stuff up stupid games."
Stinear cites decision-making, defensive accountability and staying competitive for longer periods in games as reasons why the Demons have fallen short, but he's confident the playing group has learned from those mistakes.
Ahead of the start of pre-season, the Demons went through a film session showing every key loss from the past few seasons, which captured the emotions on players' faces from after each match.
The lesson Pearce took out of it was a simple, but strong message.
"If we hold each other accountable for what we do, whether it's on the field or off the field; if we do that it'll all translate into the game," Pearce said.
Melbourne will head into pre-season with a relatively healthy list.
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Pearce will start her full training load a week later than the rest of the group, after undergoing a knee arthroscope at the end of the VFLW season.
Shae Sloane and Ainslie Kemp will be right to go from day one following ACL injuries.
New Irish recruit Sinead Goldrick suffered a broken hand in the latter stages of her Gaelic season, but she will participate in most drills.
Stinear has appreciated the professionalism Goldrick and her fellow Irish recruit Niamh McEvoy have shown off the field so far.
"They've come off the back of three All-Ireland championships with Dublin," Stinear said.
"Sinead's more recently been playing as a centre-back in Gaelic footy, so we'll see her playing in the backline.
"Niamh's been more of a centre-forward and link player, so we see her playing forward of the ball."