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Why Melbourne defender Lever sees Carlton clash as perfect finals tune up

Jun 09, 2023

Melbourne’s star defender Jake Lever has admitted that he focused on the positives despite a shattering and hard fought 4-point loss to Carlton in Round 22.

The captivating and see-sawing clash at the MCG on Saturday night had a finals-like atmosphere, something Lever certainly noticed on the field.

“The Blues, they turned up and I thought we turned up as well,” he told SEN’s Whateley.

“I think there was something like 90 tackles each or something and when you play games like that, that is a bit of a taste of what comes in September.

“It was a good experience for us and I’m glad we had that sort of experience before the finals.”

The result of the match came down to a controversial score review, which found a Christian Petracca long bomb with under a minute remaining was touched on the line by Caleb Marchbank.

However, Lever said the Demons haven’t focused on the call too much.

“In the end you can’t really change the result can you,” he said.

“You sit back and try and get better.”

Lever appreciated the tense feel of the match, as over 68,000 fans packed in for the entertaining matchup.

“Once the score review was in and then the crowd roared for Carlton, I sort of just gave it a bit of a smile,” he said.

The Blues got out to multiple leads, the biggest being 18 points in the last quarter, and also had a whopping 20 more inside 50s in the first quarter.

To only lose by four points was something to be proud of according to Lever.

“We had some pretty good learnings out of the game,” he said.

“For us to be able to respond and come back and grit our teeth and get back to even and potentially in front - I think it’s been a little bit of a hallmark of our game this year.

“It’s something that we wanted to improve on from last year, because when that happened last year we just didn’t really respond.”

Melbourne will look to cement themselves in the top four in Round 23 with a win against the in-form Hawthorn on Sunday afternoon.