Demons confident tide will turn, Petracca in hospital

Coach Simon Goodwin insists the tide can turn for struggling Melbourne despite suffering another dirty defeat, compounded by losing star midfielder Christian Petracca to injury.

The Demons slumped to a 14.5 (89) to 6.15 (51) defeat to Collingwood in their King's Birthday clash at the MCG on Monday, while Petracca was taken to hospital with potential broken ribs.

Melbourne had been eyeing a response to their humiliating loss to Fremantle last week but never got going against an injury-hit Collingwood, in a performance marred by turnovers.

On paper, the Demons are in free-fall, having lost four of their past five games to head into the bye sitting 10th.

But Goodwin played down his concerns.

"We're optimistic that we're just going through a little patch at the moment that we need to work through and we'll come out the other side," Goodwin said.

"But most teams will go through a little patch like we're going through.

"But we're very optimistic about what's possible as we move forward through this.

"There's some emergence of some young forwards working together more consistently that we'll look to continue on with and our method will continually get better."

The Demons leave the MCG.
Once 6-2, the Demons are in free-fall, sitting 10th on the ladder at 7-6.

Goodwin's charges were beaten in clearances 39-29 and centre clearances 14-6

"It's an area of the game we've got to get better at. Centre clearances isn't to the level. It's two weeks in a row now," Goodwin said.

He also lamented poor ball use all day against Collingwood, in general play and in front of goal.

"We need to be better with the ball, whether that be under pressure or perceived pressure. We need to execute better," he said.

Melbourne will give their players a break before returning from the bye to play North Melbourne.

"It's a chance to do some training and get ourselves fresh and get ourselves really in a really good space," Goodwin said.

"This game, it's small margins in a lot of ways. It's never as bad and never as good (as it looks). 

"And today we walk away losing a game of footy, but we walk away optimistic about our path forward.

"We don't sit here comfortable with where our game sits but we've got work to do and we get a chance to do it over the bye."

Melbourne will nervously wait on scans for Petracca, who sustained a knee to the ribs from Collingwood skipper Darcy Moore in a marking contest just before quarter-time.

He played in the second quarter in clear discomfort but was substituted ahead of the third term.

"He's in hospital. He's just getting a scan at the moment," Goodwin said.

"We're thinking it might be some cracked ribs but we'll give more information as soon as we get it - but hopefully that's all."

Goodwin hailed Alex Neal-Bullen as a "shining light" for his shutdown job on Nick Daicos, while he was also pleased with young forward Jacob van Rooyen's three-goal performance on return.

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