Essendon 11.11.77 defeated Carlton 10.12.72
When David Myers, in a paddock by himself, received a pass from Daniher to run in and goal to level the scores mid way through the last quarter I jumped so high from my seat, with pumping fists and screamed “Bombersssss” . It had been a long time since I had reacted in such an emotional manner. I knew at that moment we were going to win the game.
Until then it had been a tense struggle for the Bombers. Mid way through the third quarter Carlton led by 31 points in a low scoring game, the game seemingly was getting beyond the Bombers reach. Waite had looked invincable marking everything that came his way and had kicked 6 goals. The Blues looked as though they would run away with the game and I was getting grumpy.
So what caused the turn around? The swapping of Carlisle to the forward line and Hurley down back for the second half set the train in motion for things to fall into place for the Dons. Essendon now had a mobile big forward who marked the ball and brought players around him into the game with creative play. Hurley relished being the hunter rather than the hunted. Players who had been out of the game such as Winderlich, Zaharakis and Stanton started to run, finding space and were getting the ball. Three late goals in the quarter gave Essendon a sniff at three quarter time. My mate and I were quietly confident beginning the last quarter. We felt if we scored the first goal we were in with a big show but Cashboult from the goal square put a spoiler on our hopes momentarily. A big mark by Howlett and a goal, Carlisle’s great goal was a team lifter, Myers’ goal, and then Melksham with his second put Essendon in front for the first time since early in the first quarter. Essendon had kicked seven of the last eight goals and looked full of running. The Essendon voices resounded deafeningly around the MCG . Waite with his seventh returned Carlton to the lead. From then it became a continuous rugby scrum with neither team willing to give the ball up. A loose pass from Henderson was cut off by the marking Winderlich who quickly passed to Melksham in a better position. His third goal had the Bombers back in front with little time left to play. In a final thrust Carlton kicked long and high to the forward line. Flying high in a big pack Jake Carlisle, fingers spread wide on his bucket hands took a game saving mark and broke the hearts of all Carlton players and supporters alike. Seconds after his long clearing kick the final siren sounded Essendon players ran to Carlisle and hugged him, jumped on him amid scenes of real emotion. This had been a career defining moment forJake Carlisle, he had just come of age as a footballer. And the Bomber supporters as one rose and with great gusto sang with all their passion and voice the team song as it came over the speakers. If I was to give votes 3 they would have to go to Heppel who continues to improve and show the maturity of a seasoned player. 2 and 1 either way to Carlisle or Waite who both in a half provided their respective team with the opportunity to win. And what of Joe Daniher’s debut? Early he was easily brushed aside by a close checking Henderson but gained in confidence as the game progressed and did some nice things. With games under his belt and some bulking up Daniher undoubtably is a star of the future. It was a joyful two hour drive home to Irrewarra. It’s nice to beat Carlton!