Doggies’ G’s and H’s not minding their P’s and Q’s

Essendon v Western Bulldogs

I attended my first Almanac lunch with my parents in Melbourne at the All Nations Hotel. It was a great experience, meeting new people and putting faces to names. It was also great to sit and watch as Shane Morwood and Mick Gleeson recounted the 1990 Grand Final and other events during that time. It provided plenty of laughs and insight.

After a good three hours it was time to leave, but I wished I could stay in Melbourne for the match between the Dons and the Dogs. I was really interested in this match, and I was wishing to keep an eye out on Jarrad Grant and David Myers, who were taken at picks 6 and 7 in the 2007 National Draft respectively. Both have had a hard time breaking into their respective sides, but in 2010 both have seemed to cement a position and are playing some good footy. Hopefully we would get back home in time for the first bounce.

Wouldn’t you know, we pulled into the driveway at 8:20, enough time to get changed, comfy and to watch the opening of the game. The opening features a cheesy and rather pointless cartoon-portrait of various Bulldog and Essendon players. Jobe Watson gets the Bombers off to a great start with a goal, then Heath Hocking rammed through the second on the run from outside 50, before David Myers snapped through a clever goal. The Dons led by 18 points and the Dogs were just starting to wake up. The Western Bulldogs have a lot of great goalkickers with their last name beginning with either G or H. I would say about 85% of the Bulldogs’ goals in 2010 would have come from players with either of those letters starting their last name. Tonight wasn’t any different. Lindsay Gilbee snapped his first, before Barry Hall got onto the end of a sensational Gilbee pass, kicking the goal and the margin was five points. Josh Hill took a good mark and goaled, drawing scores level at 3.2 apiece at the first change.

The second quarter began and Alwyn Davey goaled on the run, before Hall marked, played-on, was legged by Fletcher, earning the free kick. He snapped his second, but the Bombers replied with goals through Angus Monfries from the goalsquare, Paddy Ryder after a good mark and Scott Gumbleton after a good mark on the lead with long, outstretched arms. The Bombers led by 18 points. Even Ben Hudson was getting in on the goalkicking action, snapping his second goal in two weeks, the first time he’s ever achieved that in his 112-game career. Hall kicked the last of the half with a snap over the shoulder, the Dogs trailed by just seven points at the main break, 6.4 to 7.5.

The second half started and David Zaharakis marked and goaled, before Gumbleton kicked his second. Davey goaled, taking the margin out to 25, and then a good mark to Ryder saw his second go through and the Bombers were way out in front by 31 points. Question marks were starting to be raised around the Footscray camp, then the alarm bells were surely ringing after Leroy Jetta got onto the end of some nice work by Brent Stanton to kick his first and the Bombers’ 12th. Gilbee took a great mark in the goalsquare, kicking his second and then Ryan Griffen snapped his first before hurting himself in his celebration. A bad omen perhaps. The Dogs trailed by 26 points at the last change, 8.4 to 12.6.

The final quarter commenced and Nathan Lovett-Murray goaled on the run to put the nail in the coffin. So it seemed. Gumbleton took a giant leap at the ball and grasped it in both of his strong hands before putting through his third and the margin was out to an unassailable 38 points. Hall goaled, then Hill put through his second from 50 after some good shepherding on the goal line by Will Minson. The margin stood at 27 points. Jetta kicked his second, taking it back out to 33, but Liam Picken broke the trend with a free kick and goal, followed by a checkside goal on the run to Hall and a third to Hill, the margin was only 16 points with only a couple of minutes to play. Could the Bulldogs do the impossible? Could they steal victory from the jaws of defeat as they did against Melbourne a few weeks ago. The ball went forward yet again. Jason Akermanis, having a dirty night at the office, snapped towards the goal line and Brian Lake, the swingman, marked right on the line before slamming through his first, and the margin was nine points. There was under 40 seconds to play. They needed two quick goals to steal the four points. The Bombers applied the brakes, tackling the Dogs until the final seconds played out on the half-forward flank as the Dogs advanced forward. Essendon had won in gutsy, but emphatic fashion, by nine points, 15.9.99 to 14.6.90.

I was wrong about Essendon. They were my pick for the wooden spoon after the NAB Cup this year. I couldn’t see them doing anything with the list they’ve got. But, players are standing tall. Myers, Gumbleton, Zaharakis, Ryder, Tayte Pears, Ben Howlett. Some of these names were hardly mentioned in 2009, if at all. But in 2010, everyone knows these players. They are standing out on the field with great performances, and hold the key to taking Essendon their second September in a row. But for the Dogs, they had plenty of G’s and H’s kicking goals, but it was the ones that weren’t and not performing that hurt the most, such as Daniel Giansiracusa, Mitch Hahn, Shaun Higgins, Jarrod Harbrow, Ryan Hargrave and Jarrad Grant. But have we seen a side with so many G’s and H stars?

Essendon 3.2—7.5—12.6—15.9.99

Western Bulldogs 3.2—6.4—8.4—14.6.90

Goalkickers:

Essendon-Gumbleton 3, Davey 2, Jetta 2, Ryder 2, Lovett-Murray, Watson, Hocking, Myers, Monfries, Zaharakis

Western Bulldogs-Hall 5, Hill 3, Gilbee 2, Hudson, Lake, Picken

Best:

Essendon-Stanton, Jetta, Winderlich, Myers, Pears, Ryder, Watson, Prismall

Western Bulldogs-Hudson, Boyd, Hall, Griffen, Gilbee

Crowd:

45,742 at Etihad Stadium

Votes:

3: Brent Stanton (E)

2: Ben Hudson (WB)

1: Leroy Jetta (E)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

Comments

  1. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Josh, I was confident we could roll the Dogs. The Bombers are gradually gaining confidence(post Lloyd). It helps when the big men play well. Shame we mucked around so much in the first few games. It could prove costly later trying to make the 8. I love the way Jetta and Davey play instinctively and don’t think twice about tackling guys twice their size. My impression is that Matty Kinights is starting to relax a bit too. Dempsey is an outsdanding defender. Fletch having an awesome season and Gumby developing nicely. Hurley has great foot smarts. I love Hocking’s old fashioned toughness. I’m enjoying our present good form and there’s still room for improvement!

  2. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Josh , I’m intrigued as to why you picked Stanton as best- I thought he was out worst! I thought Dempsey was best on ground

  3. John Butler says:

    Pamela

    It seems like there’s a review poised on the tip of your tongue (or fingers).

    It would be interesting to get an analysis of the change in Bomber fortunes from a devotee.

  4. Peter Flynn says:

    Hi Josh,

    It was great to meet you and your parents at the lunch.

    Hope you enjoy your work experience.

    Cheers,

    Peter

  5. Gday Barney, you’ve inspired me to do some stats research.

    The “G+H goals” figure is 95/138, about 69%.

    Also, Grant and Myers were taken with picks 5 and 6, not 6 and 7. It was Rhys Palmer who was taken pick 7.

    Sounds like you had fun at the Almanac lunch, the fact that you and your family came down from Waaia shows your devotion to the Almanac cause.

  6. Josh – good on you for getting to the lunch. It was good for me to put a face to the name too. Excellent report on the game. Glad you got home to see it.

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