“Last year was not a flash in the pan, people get emotional and panic and that is counter-productive. We know where we are at and what has gone against us this year,” Bartlett said.
“I think that it was remarkable we had five linear years of development and improvement and through that we knew there would be times when it was bumpy and would not be linear and that is what has occurred.
“We have made some mid-season changes in footy because we are reviewing all the time. We don’t need to do a big external review at the end of the year, we are constantly reviewing.
“List and footy decisions are for Josh (Mahoney) and Goody (Simon Goodwin) to make and I am happy with the changes they have already made and what they have done.”
Melbourne changed assistant coaching roles and restructured their high performance and fitness personnel in the mid-season.
“I am confident we are on top of things and know what we are doing without an external review. We have got a very experienced CEO in Gary Pert and a very experienced footy manager in Josh Mahoney, they know what is going on.
“We have not written off this year (for finals). We still firmly believe the season is still alive. We want to win every game and finish as strongly as we can and who knows what can happen.”
Melbourne finished top four last year after losing a preliminary final in Perth to West Coast but after a poor pre-season with 15 players having surgery and their players suffering injury in the early rounds the Demons sit third bottom on the ladder.
“You can sit and cry about what has happened but that is not what we are about. No one can deny we are on top of the injury ladder,” Bartlett said.
“It’s well documented we had a record number of operations and interruptions in the pre-season. It’s one of those years where it seems every time we got on a roll things have not gone right.
“I go back to West Coast in Perth and we got on a roll and played as well as we could have with a few players out and in the last quarter there’s a few decisions and you fall short.
“Adelaide in Darwin we kicked ourselves out of it, the goalkicking let us down when we were dominating play.
“On Sunday we could have been 10 goals up at three-quarter-time but for missed opportunities then we go down to one on the bench, we lose Tom, who has kicked six goals, and we just get over the line.
“Sunday sums up our season – we had competitiveness and character but lose players. In quality if you walked in and saw that game and didn’t know it was 16th and 17th you would have thought they were much higher sides.”
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.