Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin can see steps in the right direction but fans will be wondering how their team's disappointing AFL season got so off-track in the first place.
The Demons, a shadow of the side that stormed into a preliminary final last year, slumped to a 1-5 record after Richmond ground out a 12.13 (85) to 6.6 (42) win in front of 72,774 fans at the MCG on Anzac Day eve.
Melbourne set the bar high last year but have missed that mark by such a margin this season that Goodwin has been reduced to looking for small positives in a match where his team managed just two goals after quarter-time.
Goodwin called his side "easy to play against" after last week's listless loss to St Kilda but they were just plain hard to watch in an error-riddled defeat to the Tigers that plunged their season further into the mire.
"I can understand why our supporters would be disappointed, we're 1-5, so no question," Goodwin said.
"But when you're in the position we've been in and playing the way we have been ... there were some signs tonight that we're coming out of some of that.
"... We're certainly trying to re-establish ourselves as a contest, defence-based club and for three quarters it was looking like that.
"The scoring will come, I'm confident with that. As our fundamentals improve with the ball in hand our connection will come."
Goodwin appears to have lost faith that Tom McDonald can deliver that scoring with the key forward recast as a defender against Richmond.
Angus Brayshaw played on a wing and Michael Hibberd did a decent tagging job on Dustin Martin as the coach shuffled his deck but ultimately came up with the same losing hand.
Compounding the Demons' woes, Jack Viney is in doubt for the round-seven clash with Hawthorn after the co-captain suffered a shoulder injury in a huge bump by youngster Sydney Stack.
"He'll be an assessment (on Thursday), obviously it was a pretty big hit," Goodwin said.
"So we'll have to look at that shoulder and some concussion stuff that we'll have to look at as well.
"But he's pretty tough so we'll see how he pulls up."
Australian Associated Press