Essendon's VFL side remains winless after round three following a 30-point loss in an old-fashioned shootout against Frankston on Sunday.
The Bombers came firing out of the blocks in their first-ever VFL game for points at the NEC Hangar, but were overrun in the 16.12 (108) to 20.18 (138) defeat.
Missing captain and star midfielder Joe Atley, the Bombers were well beaten in disposals (304-375) and clearances (26-49) and couldn't match the Dolphins' spread and firepower in midfield.
Mature-age draftee Garrett McDonagh (21 disposals, five marks, eight rebounds) was Essendon's leading ball-getter in his best game for the club, while young ruckman Nick Bryan (15 disposals, 40 hitouts, five clearances, four tackles) battled hard all day.
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti showed positive signs in his second game back with 17 disposals, eight marks and a goal, while second-year defender Zach Reid stepped up his game-time in his second match back from long-term injuries.
Aaron Francis always looked dangerous and finished with six marks, six inside-50s and 3.3 in his first game of the VFL season, while first-year forward Patrick Voss also kicked three.
From a VFL-listed perspective, Will Golds (20 disposals, nine marks, eight inside-50s, one goal) and Sam Conforti (20 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) continued their impressive starts to the season, while Josh Iacobaccio was a shining light with three goals on debut.
ESSENDON 7.3 8.4 14.10 16.12 (108)
FRANKSTON 4.5 10.10 15.12 20.18 (138)
Goals: Francis 3, Iacobaccio 3, Voss 3, Conforti, Eyre, Golds, Landt, Lord, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Sutton
Disposals: McDonagh 21, Golds 20, Conforti 20, Fitzgerald 18, Jolley 17, McDonald-Tipungwuti 17