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SURRENDER FOOTBALL by The Oracle

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Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser who passed away yesterday on the same day as the Melbourne Football Club's pre season crashed in an embarrassing heap, once won a Federal election using the slogan "Turn on the Lights". The Demons lost their NAB Challenge game yesterday by turning them off and playing like blind men in pitch darkness.

Losing to a half strength Bomber side was bad enough given that the Demons came into the game boasting of having a "settled side" but the error-filled exhibition which the team put on for the small crowd in attendance at Etihad Stadium would have been a complete fiasco but for the performances of the club's recruits - Heritier Lumumba (Collingwood), Jeff Garlett (Carlton), Sam Frost (GWS), Ben Newton (Port Adelaide) and mature age Canberran Aaron vandenBerg who should become the club's first rookie elevation in a fortnight's time.

Dom Tyson and Nathan Jones worked hard in the middle and Christian Salem and Jesse Hogan produced some promising signs, there were the odd brief cameos from others but generally, it really was a case of Melbourne showing little respect for the opposition and paying the price accordingly. The Demons looked one paced, hesitant and lethargic and were shown up by the speed and enthusiasm of the Bomber youngsters eager to cement a place in the side.

One thing is for certain - Melbourne's depth is miserable. The bottom four players (and I'm not even including sub Jordie McKenzie who didn't get a run at all) were not of AFL standard and contributed far less than Essendon's four "top up" players. Perhaps it was an error not to include two players, Cam Pedersen and Angus Brayshaw who from all accounts starred for Casey last weekend, especially in view of last week's fade out against the Bulldogs?

The fiasco for the Demons began before the opening siren when Jay Kennedy-Harris was injured in the pre game warm up and ended a couple of hours when a Jack Viney short pass in the goal square area was intercepted, conceding the game. That error could have been explained or even overlooked if not for the fact that it was one of several as the team employed the style of game it has come to be renowned for over the past few years - one that plays entirely into an opposition's hands. I call it "surrender football".

MELBOURNE 0.2.4 0.5.7 0.9.8 0.11.9 (75)

ESSENDON 0.2.1 0.6.1 0.9.8 0.11.11 (77)

SUPERGOALS

Melbourne: Nil

Essendon: Nil

GOALS

Melbourne: Garlett 4, vandenBerg 2, Dawes 2, Watts 2, Viney

Essendon: Daniher 3, Fantasia 2, Dalgleish 2, Merrett, Langford, Zaharakis, Edwards

BEST

Melbourne: Lumumba, Tyson, Garlett, Salem, N. Jones, vandenBerg

Essendon: Cooney, Goddard, Chapman, Gwilt, Ashby, Daniher

INJURIES

Melbourne: Newton (leg)

Essendon: Laverde (knee)

SUBSTITUTES

Melbourne: Max Gawn replaced Mark Jamar at three-quarter time, Jordie McKenzie (unused)

Essendon: Shaun McKernan replaced Jonathan GIles at half-time, Marcus Marigliani replaced James Gwilt at three-quarter time.

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Ryan, Schmitt, McInerney

Official crowd: TBC at Etihad Stadium

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