Melbourne's dire AFL season continues to hit new depths but coach Simon Goodwin remains adamant the Demons can quickly turn their situation around.
With six rounds remaining, last year's preliminary-finalists sit 16th on the ladder with just five wins.
Sunday's eight-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium was far from their worst showing this season but it reinforced major issues for the Dees.
Ruck tandem Max Gawn and Braydon Preuss pulverised Bulldogs opponents Tim English and Jackson Trengove, the Demons winning the hitouts 52-20 and clearances 41-29.
Yet as Goodwin conceded, the Bulldogs dominated in general play despite being a man down and booting just 1.8 in the third quarter.
While Gawn's ability to feed the Dees' brigade of contested ball winners makes them hard to beat in the middle, they are often brought undone on the spread.
Goodwin would not be drawn on the club's off-season recruitment plans but said the drop-off in performance wasn't down to a lack of desire.
"There's been some challenges - hunger's not one of them," he said.
"What we're going through right now will build a hunger in our footy club that will stay with us for a while.
"We've spent four years building a really strong foundation at the footy club. We're incredibly disappointed with where we sit now but those foundations aren't going anywhere.
"We know in this game that if you have built it the right way, it can turn very quickly. We feel that we're in a space where we can do that."
Another big challenge looms for the Demons next Sunday when they host premiers West Coast in Alice Springs.
The Bulldogs are set to make at least one change for their clash with St Kilda, with forward Toby McLean suffering a hamstring injury.
Tom Liberatore is set to return from a knee injury and fellow premiership player Caleb Daniel might also come back as the 10th-placed Dogs look to secure a finals berth.
Australian Associated Press