Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has leapt to the defence of embattled AFL veterans Jordan Lewis and Bernie Vince.
Lewis, 32, attracted criticism for his lacklustre performance in last week's gut-wrenching two-point loss to St Kilda.
But Goodwin wasn't surprised his back line general struggled given the Demons' poor defensive actions further up the field in their third loss in a row.
"Jordy is an incredibly strong leader for our footy club," Goodwin said.
"It would have been a really tough day last week to play in our back six.
"Clearly, defences always look better when you can actually get some pressure on the ball and some support through your midfield.
"He's someone that we really value in that position, he was really strong for a six or seven-week period in the back half of the ground so we're confident that he can still play really high-level footy."
Vince didn't take the field against the Saints after being dropped.
The 32-year-old, who has been a fixture in the best 22 since crossing from Adelaide ahead of the 2014 season, responded well for Casey in the VFL.
"His attitude has always been first-class ... he's full of character," Goodwin said.
"He went back with an unbelievable attitude to perform strongly and help the footy club move forward.
"He's certainly got a lot to offer in footy still."
The seventh-placed Demons have the chance to find some form when they face Fremantle - who will be without Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands - in Darwin on Saturday night.