AFL Round 2 – Essendon v Melbourne: The curse of the ladyboys

Supporting Melbourne in recent years has been akin – I imagine – to a first date with a ladyboy. At one stage a year or so ago, we had more first round draft picks than any other club – including Gold Coast Suns and GWS! We have had high draft picks including Scully, Watts, Cale Morton, Lucas Cook, Martin, Johnstone, Gysberts, Trengove, Sylvia, Nick Smith and Frawley. There are probably a few unrecognised names in there – and for good reason!  The realisation that not many of these sublimely gifted athletes – usually tall and slender –  could actually get a kick, must be about as great a shock as the eventual horror-end to a first date with a ladyboy. When the hard word was eventually put on them, they did not have the expected equipment!

Then last week – a disaster! That result does about as much good for our long-term viability as accepting an offer for a lift from Ivan Milat. But hopes springs eternal; maybe this week we will see the true form of the revamped team.

Well, that forlorn hope lasted about 5 minutes. Then Essendon got on top. When they scored their 5th goal, I looked at the time – 16:40 played! It is hard to know how good Essendon is, as we provided no contest. The Bombers seemed to get more exercise constantly running off after their goals than in the general play. Watson, Heppell, Crameri and Bellchambers were in everything. But, it is not correct to say that they beat their direct opponents, as no one from Melbourne appeared interested in going anywhere near them.

The more astute football observer may have noticed that there are a few flaws in the Demons game. One is guarding space – fine if we get a reasonable share of turnovers, disastrous if we don’t. Another is to keep handballing to a teammate in an even more precarious position than you, until the all too obvious turnover.  I looked at the stats at three-quarter time. While stats don’t tell the whole story (Frawley topped our possessions but was useless, out-muscled and will not run), they can give some pretty good indications. We were losing in every single stat. Essendon even had more errors, but that was simply because they had the ball so much more.  To list the Bombers players who won their positions is to basically list the whole team. They had 12 goal kickers, but their fans desperately wanted 13. Every time Dustin Fletcher touched the ball, regardless of his position, they would scream for him to have a shot. I think he actually tried once with a big torp that he didn’t quirt get on to. Hard not to like Dustin, I think I would not have minded had he got one.


At the end of the game, the Demons players looked dejected, but I can’t help thinking they still expect to be selected next week. Well I say ‘Hell, No!’ Drop Frawley, Jamar, Watts and Sellar for starters. Mark Neeld needs to do something strong to break the prevailing general acceptance of mediocrity. Send a message Mark – Put in or move on! They turned over fully a third of their list over summer and still the senior players won’t dance for their supper.  Deep in the last quarter when nearly all the Melbourne players had stopped running, Viney who was out on the wing, called for the ball. He marked, ran hard, then spotted Toumpas and kicked towards him. Toumpas, tried manfully, but couldn’t convert. Nevertheless, hopefully a glimpse to better times somewhere down the track.

Essendon                     6.2  13.6  21.11  28.16

Melbourne                   2.1   4.5     5.5      5.6




Essendon: Crameri 6, Bellchambers 4, Watson 3, Davey, Howlett, Stanton, Heppell, Merrett, Hurley 2, Goddard, Dempsey, Ryder

Melbourne: Davey 2, Grimes, Clark, Jones




Essendon:        Watson, Heppell, Crameri, Bellchambers, Zaharakis

Melbourne:      N Jones, M Jones, Howe


Umpires:          Wenn, Kamolins, Hosking


Official crowd:           51,153


Our votes:       3 Watson (Ess), 2 Heppell (Ess), 1 Crameri (Ess)


About Paul Reed

A Demons supporter for over 50 years, not many of them memorable


  1. Neil Anderson says

    Enjoyed your lady-boy analogy but felt your pain being a fifty-year plus supporter of another struggling club.
    Maybe the lady-boy analogy for Melbourne recruits was a bit flattering because at least at the end of the night when you go the grope…you would actually find he had a set!

  2. Neil Belford says

    Great story Paul, agree entirely with your thoughts about what needs to happen next. The players cant be that bad, they go one after the other in the draft, no lists are that far apart from each other. It is what happens now that matters.

Leave a Comment