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DARKNESS COMES EARLY

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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

Melbourne Magner, 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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