Any thought of complacency creeping into the ranks of AFL ladder leaders Melbourne has been put to bed by coach Simon Goodwin.
The Demons are unbeaten after nine rounds in their premiership defence and will start short-priced favourites against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium in the Saturday twilight clash.
"We sit comfortably at the moment and we've got a great foundation but we're certainly not comfortable with where we want to end up," Goodwin said.
The Kangaroos have just one win to their name this season, a round-two triumph over a heavily depleted West Coast, and sit second-last on the ladder.
The poor run has brought scrutiny on second-year coach David Noble as he attempts to steer the club's rebuild in the right direction.
Goodwin has empathy for Noble, noting the "mutual respect" between coaches in charge of teams at different stages of their development.
But Melbourne won't show their opponents any mercy in a relentless pursuit of improvement on the march towards another finals campaign in September.
"We talk about execution of role and about the Melbourne footy club looking the same way every week," Goodwin said.
"We're really clear about what we want to stand for, both in the short term but also long term, and what we want to become by the end of the year."
The Demons have brought back back experienced forward Jake Melksham for his second game of the season, while James Harmes (hamstring) is out injured and Kade Chandler will miss two matches through suspension.
Luke Dunstan was a late call-up to replace Jack Viney, who is expected to miss one match with a minor hamstring issue.
Premiership stars Christian Salem and Michael Hibberd are set to return from long injury lay-offs next month, further strengthening Melbourne's position.
"Competition for spots is high and with the things that we want to improve on we really do break it down into some simple focuses for our playing group," Goodwin said.
"And we have a highly competitive playing group that want to get better all the time.
"We'll come into this week and we'll respect he opposition and what they can bring.
"They're a tough team around the ball, so we've got to respect that and be at our best in that space."
Noble swung the axe at selection, dropping Jaidyn Stephenson for a second time this season, while Atu Bosenavulagi and Callum Coleman-Jones have also lost their spots.
Vice-captain Jy Simpkin and young gun Jason Horne-Francis return from hamstring injuries to bolster the Kangaroos' midfield alongside Hugh Greenwood, who sat out one match through virus protocols.
Ruck-forward Tristan Xerri returns after overcoming a foot injury.
Melbourne have won three of their last four clashes with North Melbourne and are unbeaten in their last four matches at Marvel Stadium.
Australian Associated Press
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