Demons searching for more ahead of Lions showdown

Coach Simon Goodwin has declared Melbourne haven't "achieved anything yet" as the Demons prepare to renew their rivalry with the Brisbane Lions.

After two impressive wins in five days at the Adelaide Oval, Melbourne (4-1) return to the MCG on Thursday night for a blockbuster against last year's grand finalists.

Pre-season premiership favourites, the Lions stumbled out of the blocks with three straight defeats, before opening their 2024 account in dominant fashion against North Melbourne during Gather Round.

Melbourne have had some classic encounters against their Queensland opponents in recent seasons, including two finals matches, and an epic one-point win to the Demons when they met in round 18 last year.

"We've played Brisbane a lot in recent years, and we've got a great history and rivalry against them in terms of the way the game is played," Goodwin said on Wednesday.

"There's a lot of intensity about it, but one thing you know about Brisbane is their midfield group and their ability to get the ball forward to talent is exceptional.

Melbourne and Brisbane will renew their growing AFL rivalry in a blockbuster opening to round five.

"We've got a huge amount of growth, we're still not quite playing at where we want to be in terms of the way we want to play. 

"We haven't achieved anything yet.

"We're 4-1 and we're positioning ourselves, but right from the start of pre-season we knew that it wasn't going to be about what we said publicly about who we are and what we're about. 

"We wanted to show everyone, and we've started that process."

Melbourne will be without Kysaiah Pickett against the Lions after the dynamic forward was given a one-game suspension for rough conduct.

The Demons have replaced the premiership star with debutant Koltyn Tholstrup, who was taken at pick 13 in last year's draft.

The Lions return to the MCG for the first time since losing last year's grand final to Collingwood by four points.

It is a venue they have won at just once since 2014 - their famous 2022 semi-final upset of the Demons.

After their forward line was criticised following a meek performance against Collingwood in round three, Brisbane responded against the inexperienced Kangaroos.

At the centre of that criticism was Eric Hipwood, who went goal-less against the Magpies, but kicked three against North.

"He just had a bad day against Collingwood," Lions coach Chris Fagan said on Wednesday.

"It’s like he had 10 bad games in a row the way he’s been talked about."

Dual All-Australian Charlie Cameron has also been below his best, with Fagan offering some reasons why.

"Charlie had a really interrupted pre-season with tooth surgery and had to have a series of procedures and operations that saw him miss a lot of training," Fagan said.

"Then on the eve of the season he got the flu and missed four or five days of training.

"A little bit last week and definitely this week, his buzz and energy and fitness and feel for the game is back."

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