Demons confident Christian Petracca can handle tags

Melbourne are backing star midfielder Christian Petracca to handle the heat of opposition taggers and help the Demons shine - even if that means sacrificing his own game for the better of the team.

Petracca started the AFL season in blistering form but was limited by Brisbane's midfield and struggled to break a tight tag from Richmond veteran Marlion Pickett on Wednesday night.

The 28-year-old had 15 handballs and eight kicks plus a goal, but struggled to have his usual dynamic influence.

Richmond coach Adem Yze hailed Pickett's "terrific job" on Petracca in the 13.7 (85) to 5.12 (42) defeat to Melbourne at the MCG on Wednesday night.

But Melbourne counterpart Simon Goodwin insisted he'd never doubted his star midfielder's ability to work through the tag.

"We've got some strategies in and around 'Trac' and how we can maximise his use," Goodwin said.

Demons at Anzac ceremony
Demons coach Simon Goodwin (R) says Petracca has had a "fantastic season". (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

"Clearly teams are putting a lot of time into him. He's had a fantastic season so far.

'But his demeanour and his mindset and his ability to work in contest areas for the team was outstanding.

"And that's all we need from him - to compete and execute his role for the team and in the end he worked his way into the game nicely."

Teammate Tom Sparrow insisted it was on the rest of the midfield to step up and take pressure off Petracca.

"We just speak about doing what's best for the team in that position," he told AAP.

"He's a great player, such a good contest player, he'd be hard to tag I would imagine.

"But how can he help someone else out? That's what we focus on.

"But then also just staying positive, not getting too caught up in his own thoughts and performance and essentially just what he can do to make someone else better in that moment.

"Not sure if other teams will do it going forward, but we'll just be prepared for that if it comes along again."

Sparrow tackle
Tom Sparrow, here tackling Marlion Pickett, says Richmond must take the pressure off Petracca. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Goodwin conceded the Demons are "open-minded" on what their best forward mix is - though their attack wasn't helped by some horrendous skill errors going inside 50 on Wednesday night.

Daniel Turner booted three goals as the omitted Ben Brown's replacement, while recruit Shane McAdam kicked three in his first VFL game after a hamstring injury.

"We think we've got a lot of depth starting to build in that part of the ground and we'll keep forging ahead to try and find the best mix and the best team in that area of the ground," Goodwin said.

Melbourne will welcome an extended break before back-to-back litmus tests against Geelong, then Carlton.

"They're playing quality footy," Goodwin said.

"We've got things in our game we want to keep growing at, they provide opportunity to look at where we sit."