Goodwin hails Demon defending

20 March 2021 18:31:01 GMTPlus10

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin paid tribute to the Demons defence as they began the 2021 AFL campaign with a win over Fremantle at the MCG.

Melbourne got off to the perfect start when booting four unanswered goals in the first quarter and there was no looking back from that point on.

Goodwin was delighted with the all-round display of his side but had special praise for defensive duo Steven May and Jake Lever.

"We had such command from behind the ball. I thought our back six were outstanding today in the way they defended," Goodwin told reporters after the game.

"Having May, Lever and (Adam) Tomlinson playing a good chunk of footy together, makes a massive difference to your team.

"You can see with that cohesion and their ability to intercept the ball, be really strong at the contest and really work well together - it's no coincidence that they're playing well.

"They're probably our most mature area of the ground, behind the footy and I think that's helping us and enabling us to be more aggressive in other areas of the game."

Fremantle had a number of great chances to close the gap on the Demons late in the game but couldn't take them, much to the frustration of coach Justin Longmuir.

"Really frustrating - there's not much you can do when your skills let you down," Longmuir said.

"I said to the players after the game: 'when you've got momentum in the game you need to cash in' and we didn't do that at all today."

Melbourne are priced at 15/8 to win the regular season.

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