Esava Ratugolea slammed for costly brain fades in AFL defeat to Melbourne Demons

The Port Adelaide defender made a couple of costly errors in his side's loss to the Demons.

Port Adelaide defender Esava Ratugolea produced a pair of inexcusable errors in his side's seven-point loss to the Demons on Saturday night. Ratugolea began his AFL career largely in midfield and attack and after a few brain fades at the back, fans are calling for him to be moved back up the pitch.

The Demons won 15.6 (96) to 13.11 (89) largely thanks to a five-goal final quarter, with a couple of errors from Ratugolea proving costly for Port. The Power started strong but momentum quickly swung after a pair of costly mistakes from Ratugolea led directly to easy points.

Pictured Esava Ratugolea
Port Adelaide's Esava Ratugolea committed a pair of costly errors in his side's narrow loss to the Demons on Saturday night. Image: Getty/Fox Footy

Ratugolea misjudged a marking contest near Port's defensive 50 and instead of spoiling the ball away, it bounced off him straight to Melbourne’s Bayley Fritsch, who took full advantage of the error. Eddie Betts on Fox Footy couldn't believe the brain fade saying: "He’s just got to punch that ball forward".

Things only got worse for Ratugolea in the second quarter when he was the last line of defence. Melbourne's Kysaiah Pickett took a snap at goal from 30m out.

His kick dropped right on the goal line but instead of spoiling the ball or marking it in front of the goal line, he continued behind the goal line before trying to take the mark on his chest and dropping it behind the goal line, giving up a goal. The calamitous errors saw Fox Footy's Ben Dixon dub the defender 'Ratugol-error' as others slammed his brain fades online, saying the mistakes are simply inexcusable.

Simon Goodwin praises Melbourne Demons' character in win over Port Adelaide

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin applauded the character and spirit of his club as they emerged gritty seven-point winners over Port Adelaide on Saturday. After another week filled with controversy, the Demons produced a last-gasp surge in their narrow triumph at Adelaide Oval.

Goodwin and Melbourne were named in federal parliament on Tuesday night amid allegations of drug use, with MP Andrew Wilkie's speech triggering a hot debate about the AFL's illicit drugs policy. But Goodwin says despite the distraction in the lead-up to the game, his side remained singularly focussed on getting the win.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Simon Goodwin, Senior Coach of the Demons speaks to the media during the 2024 AFL Round 01 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 17, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Simon Goodwin applauded the character of his club as they emerged gritty seven-point winners over Port Adelaide. (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"That has been going on for three or four years," Goodwin said. "One thing I know about this group is they are determined to play great footy.

"We are just galvanised. We get to work, we work hard and we put on a really high performance. So I am proud of the group, the way they are going about their business."

Goodwin, who has denied any wrongdoing, said the drug issue had not taken a toll on him. "I focus on being a good father, good person. And that's all I do," he said.

with AAP