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DARKNESS COMES EARLY by Mean Gene

Earth Hour came early for Demon fans on Saturday when the club was plunged into darkness a good 5½ hours earlier than the official time planned for the environmentally symbolic annual event.

It all happened within minutes of the start of the third quarter that the Melbourne Football Club simply switched off against the Brisbane Lions after an even first half in which the game ebbed and flowed until the visitors grabbed a four point lead at the main break.

When the lights went off at the MCG for the Demons there was nothing they could do to save themselves. There was no emotion in the way they played despite the fact that they should have been celebrating a lost comrade's departure from the earth. Indeed, it seemed that Brisbane's Irishman Pierce Hanley seemed more emotionally attached to the day than any Melbourne player after he pumped his fists towards the heavens when he booted a long goal from outside fifty.

To be sure, the Demons are employing a new and different game plan but the result was no different to some of the worst rubbish they served up last year. It was hard to work out just how the plan was supposed to operate especially when the team was beaten comprehensively in the ruck by Ben Hudson and mauled by the likes of Black, Rich, Adcock and co at stoppages. When they got the ball the gist of it was that you bombed the ball long and high into the forward line hoping someone would take a mark (but it hardly ever happened) or that someone would crumb the ball (but it never happened). Brisbane was able to run and run without much challenge and with far more desperation and determination, greater skills and with purpose.

Melbourne looked slow because it was slow. It was an indictment on the team that only first gamer James Magner could hold his head up high after the rest of his teammates produced such an insipid performance. That standard was matched by a coach's box that seemed to have no answers and didn't appear to be interested in cutting off the opposition strengths such as veteran midfielder Simon Black who dominated around the packs. His younger opponents looked so tired and jaded that they didn't even have the strength to blow out a candle.

Melbourne 3.3.21 7.4.46 8.8.56 11.12.78

Brisbane Lions 1.4.10 7.8.50 13.13.91 17.17.119

Goals

Melbourne Clark Howe Magner 2 Davey Green Martin Trengove Watts

Brisbane Lions Banfield Polkinghorne Rockliff 3 Hanley Merrett 2 Adock Leuenberger McGrath Sheldon

Best

MelbourneMagner, Trengove, Watts, Frawley, Howe, Jones

Brisbane Lions Black Rich Hanley Rockliff Adcock McGrath

Substitutes

Melbourne Sam Blease replaced by Matthew Bate at three-quarter time

Brisbane Lions Rohan Bewick replaced by Sam Sheldon at three-quarter time

Injuries

Melbourne Magner (ankle)

Brisbane Lions Nil

Reports

Melbourne Clint Bartram for executing a completely innocuous sling tackle (please don't get me started).

Brisbane Lions Nil

Umpires Dalgleish, Leppard, Grun

Official crowd 33,473 at MCG

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Guest DeesPower

For all the hype about the new regime, frankly it has shown nothing. At least under Bailey there were flashes of briiliant play with some brilliant wins. With this lot, there are no flashes, not event evidence thatvthiscteam is going to be in any way competitive. The whipping boy has been Jack Watts but he wasconevof the few who played alright today.

There has to be serious questions asked about so called established (or potentially established) players. The one I think need serious looking at are: Bartrem, Bleese, even mcKenzie. The established players who are seriously under performing are: Maloney, Green, Rivers, Davey, Frawley.

So what if anything can be done about it? Sadly I think very little. The recruiting overvtheclastvfive years has left us with an uncompetitive side, and with an out of date gameplan aping Collingwood of three years ago, we can be expected to be over-run in most weeks.

My prediction for this year has been revised downward from 11 to 3. We will finish 16th.

Unfortunately, that is the way of the world.

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Very rarely post, but feel the absolute need to do so. Today was the most insipid displays of football that I have watched in some 40 years of supporting this side.

We have heard all pre season that the focus was on stoppages and clearance work. We have heard that this side would be hard at the contest and competitive. Today we lost shamefully not because our game plan broke down but simply because we could not get our hands on the footy.

At best Brisbane is a middle of the road midfield, so heaven forbid the thumpings we will get from the better sides.

For mine 16th on the proviso GC suffers the second year blues.

Shattering..,

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Overreaction.

You don't change a culture that permitted a 186 point loss overnight.

Assess after 10 rounds, not 1.

That has been my refrain for the past 5 years, but this start today seems somehow vastly different. I said after the hawthorn pre-season game that we are the lowest skilled team in the AFL. This is unequivocal I believe. When you couple poor skills with a resolutely predictable game plan that relies on winning contested ball, or maintaining possession around the boundary to eventually create scoring opportunities, this is the result you get. If Mark Neeld is going to stick to this method, we will get split wide open week after week after week. I have great fears now for our football club, because this will be beyond damaging.
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That has been my refrain for the past 5 years, but this start today seems somehow vastly different. I said after the hawthorn pre-season game that we are the lowest skilled team in the AFL. This is unequivocal I believe. When you couple poor skills with a resolutely predictable game plan that relies on winning contested ball, or maintaining possession around the boundary to eventually create scoring opportunities, this is the result you get. If Mark Neeld is going to stick to this method, we will get split wide open week after week after week. I have great fears now for our football club, because this will be beyond damaging.

The game plan can't be blamed for what happened today. Nor can the coaches be blamed. If the plan was any more than "predictable" I doubt this group could have even followed such a simple concept. It makes you wonder if perhaps Bailey did try to teach them a plan, but they were not capable of following it.

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The game plan can't be blamed for what happened today. Nor can the coaches be blamed. If the plan was any more than "predictable" I doubt this group could have even followed such a simple concept. It makes you wonder if perhaps Bailey did try to teach them a plan, but they were not capable of following it.

The game plan can absolutely be blamed, because the Brisbane players knew exactly what was going to happen.......so they set up numbers for the contested spill from the long bomb, or the boundary line hug, shot the ball out to space, connected possessions and goal after goal resulted. Watch a replay if you can bear it, because it became woefully hilarious how obviously they were able to do that every time.
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Overreaction.

You don't change a culture that permitted a 186 point loss overnight.

Assess after 10 rounds, not 1.

These kinds of reactions are usually welcome after losses. But not today's loss.

In Round 1 of a new year, with a new coach and coaching team, new captains, up against a side who wasn't very good last year and who cannot claim to be any better than us, at home, with great home crowd support, and with as much motivation as you can ask for, we played as badly as we have in our entire period of mediocrity.

In context, this is inexcusable, and it's not an appropriate response for us, nor for the club, to simply say 'let's wait and play some more matches before we criticise'. Supporters are perfectly entitled to feel like we are utter rubbish after today.

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Today we lost to a bottom 4 side that was missing their captain and one of the best players in the comp.

The players didnt bother turning up today. Not for Jimmy, Not for eachother. Not for themselves and not for the club.

We are a joke of a club and are being laughed at by everyone else.

YOU ARE PATHETIC MELBOURNE!!!!!

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Three things I learned.

1/ Magner is a magnet

2/ We were second to the ball the whole game

3/ Lions were prepared to run and spread - we werent.

4/ The long bombing or 2012 is the chipping the ball backwards of 2011. If we are not prepared to work hard and present options you only have two choices - bomb long or chip backwards. Until we are prepared to gut run and keep presenting and giving options, we will continue to disappoint

5/ I cant count.

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