Melbourne returned to the winner's list on Saturday following a disappointing fortnight, but it wasn't without a scare.

After pushing the lead out to 39 points late in the third term, the Demons put the cue in the rack and witnessed North Melbourne storm back into the contest before ultimately hanging on by three points.

Despite areas of improvement, coach Simon Goodwin noted the impressive work of tagger Will Phillips on midfielder Clayton Oliver, which ultimately got the Kangaroos back into the game.


“Look it was a tight tag. Phillips did a pretty good job, if you had to say who won the battle, you'd say ‘he won the battle',” Goodwin said post-match.

“He shut Clayton out of the game for the majority of the night. Clayton kept working through it, and he'll continue to work through it – Clayton's had a lot of attention for a long time, but the young fella did a good job on him.

“We'll see what opposition do, I'm sure they will. I'm sure Clayton will be back in some good form soon.”

Goodwin was also confident that key defender Jake Lever will return for their clash with Brisbane next week while Christian Salem will be monitored.

“Jake Lever will be right to go, he had a pretty big session Thursday and (Saturday), so I'm really confident he's going to be fine for next week as well,” Goodwin said.

“(Salem) just had a knock through the week and he was still a little bit ginger so we just took him out of the game. We're pretty confident that he'll be right to go.”


The Demons are holding onto their position in the eight but face a relatively tough run home, as clashes with the Lions, Fremantle (away), GWS and Collingwood are all to come.