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Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has rejected suggestions the events of a tumultuous week off the field contributed to the Demons' third straight AFL loss.
The reigning premiers were overrun by unfancied Collingwood in another poor second-half display at the MCG on Monday, going down by 26 points after leading by 20 during the third term.
The 12.10 (82) to 8.8 (56) upset meant Melbourne slipped to second on the ladder and their flag defence is in danger of being derailed if they cannot arrest the slide.
An alcohol-fuelled restaurant fight between teammates Steven May and Jake Melksham left the club in damage control during the build-up to the Queen's Birthday blockbuster.
There were also media reports that Demons chief executive Gary Pert had been the subject of concerns from league headquarters, while private text messages between club president Kate Roffey and predecessor Glen Bartlett were exposed.
An AFL investigation into the May-Melksham brawl is ongoing as the Demons search for ways to turn their form around, but Goodwin denied the off-field distractions had a negative effect on his players against Collingwood.
"It was a big week for our footy club and we would've loved to have walked away from here with a victory and changed the week that was, but the case is we didn't," Goodwin said.
"We played with heart, we played with spirit and we had a group of players that wanted to do well for their footy club, but our method wasn't quite to the level.
"That's AFL footy, but yeah, it was a big week for our footy club and we would've loved to have walked away with a win."
May's absence through injury and suspension has hurt, with the problem exacerbated against Collingwood by injuries to Max Gawn, Harrison Petty and Daniel Turner.
Gawn (back and ankle) played through soreness, as did Petty (shoulder and shin), who was also tested for concussion, while debutant Turner (concussion) had to be substituted out.
"From a talls perspective we were under a fair bit of pressure in that third quarter, so we need to get (May) back," Goodwin said.
"We need to get him back in our team, we need to get him playing well and get our team playing really cohesive again.
"It's not surprising that when you don't have cohesion teams can struggle, so we need to get that back."
Goodwin conceded second halves have "definitely" been a concern over the last three weeks, with the Demons outscored 6.16 (52) to 25.9 (159) collectively by Fremantle, Sydney and Collingwood.
"The boys played with heart but when your method starts to break down, over time that can weigh heavily on a team," Goodwin said.
"And we're no different to any team.
"If you're not in-sync and you haven't got connection right across the board for the whole time, teams will wear you down.
"That's what happened today.
"Collingwood are in really good form, their method's really strong at he moment and they beat us in the key areas of the game."
Melbourne have a bye this week before a difficult match-up with new ladder leaders Brisbane, with the important clash to open round 15 on a Thursday night at the MCG.
"There's not a massive time to have a week off," Goodwin said.
"We've got four days off ... but we'll be back on the tools pretty quickly and ready to go."