Footy: He missed! No chance of a dry argument after Dons beat Saints

August can be a wicked month; however the day dawned cool and clear. Our young boys were to take on the unbeaten Saints, who had played consistently well for 19 rounds and appeared to be invincible. I had arranged to meet Jen at her apartment by the Yarra in Richmond, and once at the ground Shane Devine would join us in our much loved, reserved-for-home-games seats just 3 rows from the action.

Jen knew the tram routes to the Docklands stadium and, decked out in our Bomber colours, we arrived unhassled with plenty of time before the match began. Jen found time to buy food at one of the pop-up stores outside the ground – sushi, I think. (Gone are the days of my youth when it was pies, chips or jam doughnuts – period).

We had convinced ourselves out loud that Essendon had a show of being competitive, but in our hearts I think we thought the task would be beyond our boys, who are very much in a ‘building’ phase, which we accept. We prepared a defence of statements such as, “As long as they try I’ll be happy,” and “It’ll be interesting to see just how good the Saints are”.

The game began with Essendon determined to show that they were going to compete. Their courage and second- and third-ball gets were inspiring and we remained very happy to think that although they would lose they would do their best. What more could we ask?

By the end of the third quarter we were eight goals in front and although this was phenomenal we were aware that our young team had given all they had and could tire so much in the final quarter that an eight-goal margin might not – remarkably – be enough.

Sure enough the Saints powered home in the last quarter, and close to siren time they were but three points behind and we were to be heartbroken. Nick Riewoldt took a mark at the city end in front of goal and in front of the Essendon cheer squad. I couldn’t look. He is a great footballer and captain of his side and there was no way he would miss this. Siren! Oh heartbreak! They were going to win with a goal kicked after the final siren – the worst outcome of all.

I didn’t see the ball after it left his boot – was it poor vision or did I choose not to look? What I saw next, though, was momentarily confusing. Those who were out of their seats behind the goals were dressed in red and black – there was no sign of the telltale white. “He missed? HE MISSED!” I cried and, leaping up and down, I promptly wet my pants!

About meg stuart

Lifelong Essendon supporter, born 1946. Lefty, bleeding heart. Taught English, Literature, French and singing in Vic Govt secondary schools for decades. Loved it! Married with 2 daughters – both Bomber supporters. Husband rather uninformed Collingwood supporter (is there any other sort?). Love life – food and wine/gardening/music/reading/film/TV/my macbook/friends/politics/nature/cricket, and the great social lubricant of this fair city – AFL.

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