Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton has described Melbourne as a team of "downhill skiers".
After a preliminary final appearance last year the Demons have disappointed in 2019, currently sitting in 16th place on the ladder.
Speaking on SEN Drive, Brereton reaffirmed his belief that Melbourne’s standard from last year wasn’t a fluke, but that the side has lost some of its intensity and connectivity.
“I think their best footy was real and I think they can get that,” Brereton said.
“What I have found them to be, I can’t go for another description other than downhill skiers.
“When it’s going well in their direction, they run hard, they create so much pressure on the opposition.
“This year, they lost their synergy between the midfield and the forwards. They kick it in there a lot, they just couldn’t score.”
Brereton then put the spotlight on two of the Demons top young players, focussing on a lack of defensive intent.
“They’ve got some wonderful players and the two that stand out, they’re going to be fantastic in the history of that club, are (Clayton) Oliver and (Angus) Brayshaw.
“Right now, from what I’ve seen this year, I’d rank them, as defensive midfielders, three and a half, four out of ten.
“They’ll tackle if in a pack and somebody just gets the ball and they’re half a metre away from them, but to actually go and hunt a tackle is a different thing.
“They need to step that side of their game up.”
Melbourne face a tough test this week against West Coast in Alice Springs on Sunday afternoon.
Listen to Dermott Brereton's chat on SEN Drive in the player below