Melbourne's leaders will conduct a thorough review of their misfiring centre bounce clearance systems before putting their unbeaten start to the AFL season on the line against Carlton in round nine.
The Demons sit on top of the ladder with an 8-0 record after a nine-point win over Sydney at the MCG on Saturday night.
But while their performance was gritty in tough conditions, they were exposed by the Swans in an area where they have previously been strong.
Sydney dominated centre clearances 17-4 and generated a 58-46 advantage in inside-50s.
Much-improved ruckman Tom Hickey and midfielders Luke Parker, Josh Kennedy and Callum Mills took a vaunted Melbourne on-ball division - led by Max Gawn, Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver - to the cleaners in the centre square.
It would have ended the Dees' winning start to the season if not for their superior efficiency in attack and crucial wins in big moments in the final quarter.
"It's concerning, isn't it?" Melbourne coach SImon Goodwin said post-match.
"17-4 is probably as big a number as you've seen in footy and that means you're sucking up a lot of territory, so it's an area of our game where we've got to get better.
"We'll look at that and learn and get better, but it's important to get that right.
"You give up a lot of territory and you've got to move the ball from the back half and that's not how we want to play, so it's an area we'll look at closely."
Goodwin admitted Melbourne had unsuccessfully tried a number of different ways to counter the Swans' centre square set-up.
Yet he backed captain Gawn and midfield coach Adem Yze to fix the issues before the encounter with Carlton clearance specialists Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh.
"Some senior guys will go away and rectify it because it's a big part of our game and a big part of a lot of teams' games," Goodwin said.
One aspect of Melbourne's performance that did work against Sydney was the combination of Tom McDonald and off-season recruit Ben Brown in attack.
The pair combined for seven of the Demons' 10 goals, with McDonald sealing the result when he completed his haul of four after a big pack mark in the dying stages.
"The scoreboard impact said a lot but it wasn't just that," Goodwin said.
"They kicked goals, but I thought their pressure in the forward 50 when it was down there was very good.
"Both of them competed incredibly strongly and it's full credit to them."
The performances of McDonald and Brown will likely mean Sam Weideman has to continue to bide his time in the VFL and wait for an opportunity despite strong form at the lower level.
Australian Associated Press