Demons learn from last AFL loss to Magpies

Melissa Woods

Melbourne's last clash with Collingwood effectively ended their AFL finals campaign before it began and Demons coach Simon Goodwin says lessons learnt from that loss continue to resonate.

The upset defeat last August meant the Demons blew a chance to seal an AFL finals berth after other results failed to fall their way.

Ahead of the Monday blockbuster at the MCG, Goodwin said while the club had put the disappointment behind them, the impact was still being felt.

"We learnt a lot at the back end of our season last year," Goodwin said on Friday.

"We learnt to really value the importance of every training session, every contest and every moment in every game.

"We got the greatest lesson of all through that period and what I'm loving at the moment is seeing our playing group being able to really value those situations so I'm looking forward to seeing them put that on show on Monday."

With both teams in the top eight the clash presents as the biggest in recent history.

Goodwin saying everyone at his club could already feel the excitement building.

The Demons are without high-profile defender Jake Lever, who faces a knee reconstruction, with Goodwin unsure who would get the nod as his replacement.

"We've got to decide whether we go a little bit taller or smaller and really complement the guys who we've got down there," he said.

"You can't just go and find the next Jake Lever ... we going to explore and test and learn over the next four or five weeks and really look to find something that works for us."

Goodwin was looking forward to the midfield battle, feeling his Demons have closed the gap on the star Magpies contingent led by Scott Pendlebury, Adam Treloar and Steele Sidebottom.

"There's no doubt that we've increased our depth as it wasn't too long ago we were rated poorly as a midfield group but we've got some young players who are playing some outstanding footy and obviously Nathan Jones and Jack Viney are in that mix," he said.

The Demons are on guard for Pendlebury, who was effective in shutting down Fremantle's Nat Fyfe last week.

"He's obviously doing some roles on players but what he's doing is playing on them at stoppage, he's playing an accountable midfielder and I think that's the best way to train up your mids.

"We'll expect him to go to someone at stoppage and we'll be ready for that."