Dons Improving

What a fantastic day at the “G”.  A huge crowd of almost 90,000, a brilliant cloudless blue sky and the surface looked like a manicured billiard table.  And sitting in the crowd were  two who have been regulars for this clash for many many years.  It’s the annual father/son bonding day, son a Collingwood fanatic and his father,  a Don tragic.

We joined the hundred metre queue outside the members at quarter to ten, already the conversation is about the game, who will play on certain players, are the Dons better this year, just how good is Collingwood? I was a bit worried about the Dons selection of three big ruckmen to replace the two injured speedsters, and I was a bit concerned that Alwyn Davey has still not made the team.  Gates open at ten thirty and by this stage the queue has extended to at least four hundred metres. and at least ten people wide.  It’s my choice of where we are going to sit, so we  move smartly , sit down and collect our two reserved seat cards.

We meet again in a crowded  Percy Beams Bar at two o’clock, the patrons seem to be about fifty fifty as far supporters are concerned, a good mix of Don and Magpie jumpers. I was rabbiting on how I reckon Essendon are a five goal better side this year, son isn’t convinced and deep down ,I don’t  think I am  either.

Two forty and the ball is bounced, but before I can get settled the Magpies have scored their first major. The Essendon backline must have felt like they were facing a black and white hurricane, the pressure was never ending, Beams, Swan, Pendlebury and Jolly all collected goals but to the Dons credit they battled manfully on. They got the ball into their forward line but managed only minors due to the Collingwood teamwork. The Magpies handball was brilliant, blistering quick and pin point. Quarter time, Pies up by twenty three. My prediction of how the Dons will go, looks very shaky, son not saying too much, he remembers the game a couple of years ago. I watched the Essendon  brainstrust at quarter time, they certainly had a lot to say to the team, arms  waving, pointing, gesturing  and boy there sure are lots of assistant coaches. Let’s hope the players catch on and remember.

Second quarter, the Essendon endeavour  cannot be questioned however they made lots of mistakes , due to Collingwood pressure.  Pendlebury  scores another major due to an Essendon turnover and things are looking grim with a capital G . Tom Bellchambers who has been impressing me with his ruck work gets a well deserved major, but almost immediately Didak kicks a miraculous goal from the boundary line. There was a great moment when Nathan Lovett-Murray tangled with Leigh Brown on the boundary line in front of the members. They both gave it their “best shot” then virtually helped each other up, patted each other and went back to battle for their sides. A late goal by Jobe Watson got the Dons back to within twenty points for the big break.

Time for another cleansing ale and a discussion on the game. I felt that the Dons had clawed their way back into the game although Collingwood are still favoured. Son is quietly confident, he reckons that twenty points means nothing and he has many memories of previous  encounters. The beer tastes great but there are more important things to do, so back to the seats. We were a little late, we missed David Hille goal for the Dons, then Stewart Crameri cleverly marked the ball running with the flight and goaled. I like this bloke, tough, great kick, good ball skills and carries a big big number. I look forward to him wearing long sleeves in winter.  The hero of 2009 David Zaharakis goals for the Dons but Luke Ball answers for the Pies. Excitement machine Leroy Jetta scores a major which gets Essendon within a kick. The battle between Jetta and Leon Davis has been fantastic to watch, great skills , lightning reflexes and both really hard at it. Before the bell goes for three quarter time Collingwood score two demoralising goals , one to Brown and one to Beams. Collingwood by just over two goals.

The orange break, and out comes a huge army of trainers, doctors , physios ,water carriers and assistant coaches for both teams.  Speeches over ,it’s back  to the game and  that new favourite of mine Crameri scores and then Hille scores another for the Dons within a few  minutes “That’s two in a row ” moans son, and I am on the edge of my seat. Boy what a game, the Dons have dragged themselves back into the game , only two points down. But before I get too excited Dawes, someone who I would never disagree with, and Cloke, almost as scary, bang through  two.  Zaharakis scores a major, could we get back in the game?  I live in hope, if we are good enough there is still time to do it. But unfortunately there is plenty of time for Collingwood too and Steele Sidebottom who has an interesting knick name, just about seals the game . And just to rub salt into the wounds, a very unusual mistake by Justin Fletcher results in a turn over and Pendlebury  goals after the final siren.   Collingwood by thirty. I reckon eighteen would have been a more just result, but that’s footy.

A really good game of footy , and father and son enjoy an ale in the Percy Beams. We both agree Essendon is much better team this year, but Collingwood are very very good. The Dons will learn from this game, I feel good about the future.

Collingwood 16-11- 107  defeated  Essendon 11-11- 77.

My nomination for best on ground  Leon Davis

Best Players for Essendon .  Crameri, Watson, Bellchambers , Howlett, Hocking, Hardingham.   Player I felt sorry for, Stanton, played a shocker, nothing went right for him but kept on trying.

Leave a Comment