Dees 36 - Geelong 102
As much as the Demons have needed it, Paul Roos can't just go out and draft an entire new list. Last season's recruiting may have unearthed some diamonds in Tyson, Cross, Salem and Vince, but the rest of 2014 looks set to be tests for what works out and what doesn't work.
In Roos' quest to find a winning formula, the tactical tinkering saw Dunn and Howe swung between forward line and backline, and Dom Barry was replaced after one game for Tapscott to get his first taste of AFL footy this year.
While being competitive against the Cats, who must by now see the Demons fixture as a regulatory 4 points, was always a long shot, that this was Melbourne's most insipid performance since the Eagles stuffing is a worrying sign.
Aiden Riley and Jack Viney work a mean midfield terrier double act. We may be still short on ballwinning midfielders, particularly with the body-blow of Daniel Cross' injury, but Viney and Pigdog stepped up to prevent an absolute demolition job by the Cats.
5 goals is more than the measly 4 kicked against Freo. But we can't play attacking football right now, because our forward stocks are lamentably thin. Past Dawes and Pedersen we have nobody. Hogan and Clark pretty much totalled our season.
As hard as you have to squint sometimes to see it, the skills across the team have improved, and there is more confidence. We won the third quarter today, that would not have happened last year. We'd have given up and gone home 3 minutes into the second.
Maybe the early good results were a Trojan horse, but we were far, far worse than this. And progress will be slow.
But hopefully, with the coaching staff we have now, it'll finally be done right.