Demons hailed for ruthless defensive edge

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Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has hailed the return of his team's defensive ruthlessness after watching his players dismantle Fremantle to the tune of 46 points on Friday night.

A week after conceding 110 points against the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne held Fremantle to five goals in a masterful defensive display.

The 12.13 (85) to 5.9 (39) victory means Melbourne (14-5) will finish the round at least a win clear of fifth spot, giving them an excellent chance to nail down a top- four or top-two berth.

Melbourne's intense pressure all over the ground meant Fremantle's ball movement stagnated, and Goodwin was thrilled with the effort of his players.

"It's obviously important for us to play the way we did tonight," Goodwin said.

"Defensively, from last week to this week was completely different. We were ruthless with how we wanted to defend.

"Really strong in the contest and that's how we build our game. Tonight was the urgency and intensity we need as a football club.

"I thought our boys rose to the occasion."

Melbourne ruckman Luke Jackson went into the change rooms in the dying minutes of Friday's match, but Goodwin said it was just to check out a minor knock to the head.

Defender Jake Lever twice rolled his left ankle, but he was able to play out the match.

Goodwin is confident forward Ben Brown (knee) and James Harmes (concussion) will return for Friday night's blockbuster against Collingwood at the MCG.

Melbourne finish their season with challenging games against Collingwood, Carlton, and Brisbane (Gabba), but two more wins could be enough to secure a top-two finish.

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