Police patrol Bourke St, Melbourne during curfew in August (Image: AAP/Erik Anderson)

Melbourne is in its own bubble, enduring one of the world’s longest and harshest lockdowns. But until now, Premier Daniel Andrews has looked in control. Tired and at times testy, especially to federal colleagues, he's nonetheless carried the majority of the people with him. The jibes about "Dictator Dan" simply have not cut through.

But yesterday, at a long-awaited press conference, Andrews delayed announcing when new restrictions would ease. Melburnians had to wait a little longer, the premier said. Then, an hour into the presser, he said restrictions would still probably be lifted on November 1. He’d had a late night, he told reporters.

And increasingly, the premier is becoming more combative. Last week, he snapped at his critics in the federal government, and at “selfish” beachgoers. Is it all a sign the premier, so steady all this time, is starting lose a little control, and struggling under pressure of the moment? Or simply an inevitability of holding one of the toughest jobs in the country?