The Demons did part of what was asked of them - they tried. The next question, of turning effort into victory, remains some time away but it was sufficient to leave coach Mark Neeld believing he now has the chance to coach them in how to play.

Richmond, like Melbourne, did what was asked of it: It won, but did little more than that.

Before 39,149 at the MCG, Melbourne answered the question of character it had raised with its pathetic effort last week, by at least bringing a respectable level of effort.

''In a bizarre sort of a way, I can coach now. If that is what you are going to bring to the table. We know there are some turnovers we made that we need to work on and that is obvious, but I thought, for the most part, the boys kept going,'' Neeld said after the 34-point loss.

The Demons' determination prompted the obvious query of where that passion had been last week.

''We realise that with the inexperience we are going to go up and down in that area and we are trying to alleviate that,'' Neeld said. ''We still feel since the GWS game we have had one week where people could question [our] effort and that is across a five-week period.''

When asked how the team would maintain that level of effort Neeld began to reply but was interrupted by full-forward Chris Dawes, who said that was not a coaching issue.

''It's nothing to do with the coaching - it's the players. Coaches shouldn't have to coach effort at AFL level. That's on the players and we are pretty confident that won't happen again. Tonight was a first step towards that,'' Dawes said.

''Yeah, the effort was better but it should be at AFL level. We competed hard and put ourselves in a position to win but we didn't win so we can't accept that.''

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was pleased to win a frustrating game in which his side failed to open up the defining break it could have in the first half by loose shooting at goal.

''We certainly didn't make the most of our chances going inside 50, when Ty Vickery kicks four straight behinds and I'm not sure what Jack [Riewoldt] kicked. We couldn't quite get the scoreboard reward we were after.We were taking a lot of marks inside 50,'' Hardwick said.

''What did they kick - 7.2 in the first half? We kicked more points than they had shots.''

Hardwick praised the game of emerging defender Brandon Ellis who had a career-high 39 touches to be the outstanding player on the ground and first-year player Nick Vlastuin had the best game of his short career with important linking play through the middle.

''We played OK in spurts, let's not take anything from Melbourne. Their aggression, their niggle was outstanding, they played the sort of footy I think they are capable of playing as a club, It was a pretty solid contest, our guys have had a good hitout today,'' Hardwick said.

The niggle spilled over into a melee at half-time but there appeared no punches thrown and it at least reflected a level of aggression in the contest from Melbourne.

The first half was as good as Melbourne could hope for. In the first quarter it laid 18 tackles, a marked increase on last week's despicable performance when the Demons had 39 for the match. They pressured and harassed and finished the day with 67 tackles, their second-most for the year.

They had a focal point forward in Dawes, impressive performances from youngster Matt Jones, Michael Evans and Dean Terlich, and Aaron Davey's class made him stand out in his side.

The Tigers now face Essendon next week in the Dreamtime game and follow that with a trip to Perth to take on West Coast, both winnable games and important to Richmond's hopes.